Human Life Review Blog

Scroll through our blog to find great articles and commentary on current life issues.

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Bring Back the Ten Commandments!

  In the upstate New York community of Kingston, a synagogue that had fallen into disuse several years ago was sold and converted into a deluxe residence, housing apartments with splendid gardens and scenic views of the Hudson River. Most of the exterior and interior...
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Why Live in the Barnyard?

Americans are right to complain about rude-and-crude comments by President Trump and other politicians today. We should realize, though, that our entire culture has become much ruder and cruder over several decades. Provocative clothing styles, bathroom and other crude “humor” on...
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Notes from the March for Life

  “Pro-choice, that’s a lie/Babies never choose to die!” That was one of the chants that rang out during the March for Life in D.C. a couple of weeks ago. A sea of hand-held signs reflected a diversity of participants—one read “This feminist rejects abortion because it is a...
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If You’re In, You’re a Baby

  Last week my office held a baby shower for a coworker and his eight-months-pregnant wife. It is their first baby, and there was lots of conversation about the nursery, the childbirth classes—all the usual things. And there was one of those cutesy baby-shower games: On...
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Ohio Outlaws Death by Discrimination

  Imagine a conversation in which one executive confides to another something like this: “I don’t really want to hire that African-American guy,” says exec No. 1. “I understand, buddy, but legally we can’t reject a person based on race,” replies exec No. 2. “Geez. What do we...
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How a Cradle Pro-Choicer Became Pro-Life

Jack and I met in 1982 when we both arrived as freshmen at an engineering school in Pittsburgh.  The school assigned us to the same floor of the freshmen male dormitory, a hulking bunker of a building that smelled perpetually of college-boy sweat and marijuana. Though Jack and I...
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On the Erasure of History

America recently has been roiled by wholesale efforts to erase history. Monuments go missing in the middle of the night. Undergraduate snowflakes demand “trigger warnings” before they read a book that might tackle somebody or something ugly, hateful, or even controversial....
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Deo Gracias

  Blow on the coal of the heart. The candles in churches are out. The lights have gone out in the sky Blow on the coal of the heart And we’ll see by and by.      —from J.B.: A Play in Verse, by Archibald MacLeish   Cornflower blue skies and crisp breezes are what I...
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The Noble Appeal of “Death with Dignity”

  We had been close friends for twelve years, and I was blessed to be with him as the doctor helped him die. Growing stiffer and frailer over the last year or so, he had still enjoyed life, including a short walk we’d taken just a few days before, with him happily chasing...
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Baby in pink

Late Term Abortion on Healthy Moms and Babies: America’s Dirty Little Secret

  “People have a right to their own opinion,” Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life recently remarked, “but they don’t have a right to their own facts.” He was speaking about the prevalent myth that late-term abortion is done only in cases of medical necessity—or that ...
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A Poem for Advent

  Advent of My Little Child Christ My Lord Oh My Father what was Your Thought To Send Your Son for me to hold To offer him a tiny babe In the weakest of arms, my own? Whene’er I touch such a babe As You send Who has no speech no word no ken Taken aback I stand in momentous...
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Life and the Left’s Inconsistencies

  On September 22, 2017, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, in Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky et al. v. Indiana State Health Department Commissioner et al., permanently enjoined enforcement of a 2016 Indiana law regulating abortion...
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A Lesson in Flag-waving

  Brightly colored flags greet visitors to the United States Holocaust Museum. The flags are not the national flags of the millions of victims of the shoah. Nor are they the national flags of the Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany. Instead, they are the flags of the...
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Jerry Brown: A Helpful Hint of What a Pro-Life Democrat Could Look Like

  Among high-profile Democrats, Governor Jerry Brown of California stands out for his relative benevolence toward the pro-life cause. He has dared to refer to abortion in plain language—“the killing of the unborn”—and has called it “crazy.” He has supported and signed state...
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The Peace Inside Us

  The Halloween terror attack of this past week happened at my 10-year-old son’s school. These are words I never thought I would utter. Terrorism is one of the many threads that make up the fabric of everyday life in New York City. My children read signs on the subway urging...
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Watch the Docs! Check the Meds!

  During visits to relatives or friends who are quite old or have been very ill, you may be alarmed by the sheer number of medicines they take. Is all of this really necessary? The answer may well be “No!” Can some drugs cause new problems instead of solving old ones? The...
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Piety and Laughter—J.P. McFadden

  A small package was delivered to my office. It contained a copy of the Human Life Review and a note from its editor, James P. McFadden, inviting me, on the recommendation of an unnamed source, to write for his fledgling journal. I was honored by the invitation and soon...
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Harvey Weinstein’s Pro-Life Lessons

  The Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sexual-predator story offers one lesson for defenders of life: We defend or deny life even when we’re not within a thousand miles of a life issue. Here’s why. We don’t form a culture mainly by what we do in the big obvious cases. We form a...
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Searching for the Soul of R2-D2

  My familiarity with Star Wars is largely confined to the first few releases of the franchise back in the late 1970s. In the initial Star Wars film, aside from the romantic weirdness of this “galaxy far, far away” and the David-and-Goliath quality of the battle of Good...
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Grassroots Pro-Life Panel Talks Trump, Millennials, and Effective Strategies

  Last Saturday, the Human Life Review’s EXPECT initiative and ProLife Future NYC hosted a discussion panel on how four organizations are working to build a culture of life in America. The participants were Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International, John Hinshaw of Good...
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Audrey Hepburn’s Beauty Tips

  My title is misleading. It attributes a poem to the stylish actress which she did not compose. “Time Tested Beauty Tips” was one of Hepburn’s favorite poems—she is said to have read it to her children on the last Christmas Eve she spent on earth. Legend credits her with...
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Our Haunting Insecurities and the Human Weeds

  Modern cosmetics tells us something about our culture’s desire to abort the unborn and euthanize the sick and elderly. In our desire to beautify the body, writes Zygmunt Bauman, “the appearance of the remedy as a rule preceded awareness of the deficiency that clamored to...
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Ask Me Anything

Sometimes word games can become mind games. My 11-year-old daughter has Down syndrome. My instinct has always been to put it exactly that way—Down syndrome is something she has, not something that has her or something she is. Does that seem obvious? These are actually hotly...
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Be Decisive, Act Responsibly

  Credit be given, my title is lifted from the name of a talk advertised by my employer, one of those presentations HR puts on about how to be an effective leader. I think it’s a fitting riposte to David Brooks’ New York Times opinion piece, “Why Fathers Leave their...
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Use the Term “Pro-Abortion” Only When It Fits, Which Is Not That Often

  “It’s obviously ridiculous to say somebody is ‘pro-abortion,’” Gloria Steinem told the Associated Press in May. “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I think I’ll have an abortion. It’s a pleasurable experience.’” Abortion-rights advocates have been saying that since...
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Easy but Uncomfortable

  It’s the language we use for diseases. Polio, we say, has been eradicated from the earth. Last week many pro-lifers jumped on the moral carelessness of a CBS story which declared giddily that Down syndrome had been “basically eradicated from Iceland”— as if someone in...
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A Cure for MS?

  The shocking headline seemed to jump out at me from the computer screen: “Brit scientist could be about to CURE multiple sclerosis and provide hope for millions.”[1] Really? Did I dare hope for a cure after living with aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than 30...
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Consistent Life Ethic Conference: John Carr Gives a Call to Action

  “End war, end racism, end poverty, end abortion, end euthanasia, end the death penalty”—this exhortation permeated Consistent Life Ethic’s annual conference last weekend in Philadelphia. CLE is a growing movement with well-known supporters like Martin Sheen, Dorothy...
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Tribute to a Prophetess

  The name Clare Boothe Luce should not be absent from the minds of contemporary Catholics. While she may not have been a saint, she understood well that in times of crisis saints are what we need. In 1952, Luce edited a classic anthology of essays entitled Saints for Now. Twenty...
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We Just Have a Picture. They Have Stories

“Facts are the background noise of debate and analysis,” former Reagan media expert Merrie Spaeth explained in The Wall Street Journal. “Anecdotes are a message’s most powerful anchors. In the battle for public opinion, personal stories win.” Stories decide whose claims feel more...
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The Blind Spot in Women’s Athletics

Just like their male counterparts, elite women athletes receive cutting-edge advice regarding diet, training, medicine, and sports psychology. It’s an approach meant to fine-tune game-day performance using the most up-to-date research. With competition for Olympic medals,...
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A Rule of Life

  Obsculta O fili – Listen, O son. These first words of the Rule of St. Benedict mark the opening of a new world in the West. An abbot (father figure) firmly yet tenderly calling for the attention of his spiritual son stands as a defining point for what would become...
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New life through snow trust

‘Life More Abundantly’

  Health and wealth rhyme, and not just the words, although those tell a story too. The word health comes from whole, what an organism is when its gears are humming as they ought, everything in its place, each part in sync with the others, none missing or broken or...
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Disabilities and Heroic Virtue

  In The Story of a Soul, St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote that God  “set before me a book of nature; I understood that all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or...
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Our Malignant Normality

  The majority of people don’t have to go all in for evil for a society to turn to evil. They need only go one-third or half-way. That’s one lesson to be taken from the work of the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, most famous as the author of The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing...
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The Lentils Were Planted!

  2016 was a banner year for earthquakes in Italy. More than 300 people lost their lives in two series of shocks that hit the center of the country—especially the region of Umbria—destroying small towns and their treasures. Nearly a year later, authorities are still removing...
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Trusting Ourselves to Trust God

  The joy of being pregnant was dashed for me at five weeks when I found out that the twins I was carrying were high risk. The doctor told me there was a 50 percent chance both would die and an 80 percent chance that at least one would. Every other week more complications...
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Surrogacy and Social Justice

  The New York Times headline warns: “As Mexican State Limits Surrogacy, Global System Is Further Strained.” The gist of the story is that the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, which for a brief moment became the next Mecca for wealthy Westerners looking for Third World...
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Mother’s Day at Villa Guadalupe

On Mother’s Day, the Sisters of Life held a celebration for about 75 mothers and 150 children at their retreat house, Villa Guadalupe, in Stamford, Connecticut. Although it had rained all day Saturday and the forecast for Sunday was not good, there was no way this event could be...
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The Disciple of Rationality’s Unreasonable Thoughts

It’s interesting, the kind of things you find rummaging through your files when you’ve got a deadline and nothing to say. (This, innocent readers should know, happens to the writers you read more often than any of us like to admit.) For example, the ethicist Charlie Camosy’s...
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The Crossword Puzzle as an Instrument of Propaganda

Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread of all word games.  Typically, they are free of controversy—all the correct answers are facts that respond to questions such as “what is the longest river in Egypt?” or “who was the second president of the United...
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The Democrats Need Pro-Lifers—and Pro-Lifers Need a Two-Party System

  As Democrats fight among themselves about abortion, Republicans and pro-lifers watching from the sidelines say “Good,” though for different reasons. Republicans enjoy seeing their rival party in chaos. So do pro-lifers who are Republicans more loyal to their party than to...
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Picture Imperfect

  Is the pro-life movement doomed to lose the public relations battle? If so, it’s not because we don’t have the better argument—we do. It’s not because we don’t have great warriors, orators, and persuaders—we’ve got the best. It’s because so many of the intangibles that...
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The Abortionist Willie Parker, a Moral Man

  His becoming an abortionist, Willie Parker tells Rolling Stone, “was an assertion of my responsibility to pursue justice and human dignity.” I don’t doubt him. He is, by his lights, a moral man. Parker heads the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health and performs abortions...
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Blaming the Victim

The story of an abortion survivor is one “that could not be heard, and therefore must not be told.” This was the lesson learned by then-college freshman Melissa Ohden who, in a discussion with new friends about “every kind of abuse, abandonment and human heartache,” found that...
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Notes from Under the Dome

  At a family gathering early in the last election season I was asked by a practicing Catholic who reflexively votes Democratic whether, if Donald Trump had gotten the Republican nomination, I would vote for him in the general election. When I said yes, both she and her...
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The Messenger Is the Message

  During the last presidential campaign, friends and acquaintances urged me to cast my vote for the Republican Party platform. I didn’t, because it wasn’t on the ballot. I wasn’t always so clear-eyed. In 1980, being young and both bloodless and woolly in my political...
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Of Doves and Serpents, and Pro-Choice Magic

  One of the doves who come to our window feeder seems to be missing the skin on the back of his head. I’m pretty sure we see his skull when he looks away from the house. It’s a dangerous world out there when you’re prey. They’re pretty birds, our doves, but they don’t look...
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Standing outside Planned Parenthood

  On the first Saturday of every month, about forty of us gather outside Planned Parenthood on Bleecker Street in downtown Manhattan for an early morning Vigil for Life. We have been holding this vigil for almost ten years and neither wind nor rain nor blazing sun...
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Faraway, So Close

I always knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know when—or for whom. My 11-year-old daughter, Magdalena, has Down syndrome. Over the years, my wife and I have met dozens of other parents of children with special needs—through schools, through Special Olympics programs,...
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The Magdalene Institute Makes Its Debut

The story of Mary Magdalene, a repentant sinner who went on to sainthood, is well known. Today she serves as inspiration for two life-affirming organizations: The Community of St. Mary Magdalene and The Magdalene Institute. Their founder, Mary Langlois, hopes that the...
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Abortion and Higher Education

  Many pro-life advocates believe that the answer to the abortion problem lies in education.  Science supports the claim that human life begins at conception. Psychology reports that induced abortion has adverse effects on a high percentage of women. Sociology informs us...
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Battling Physician-prescribed Suicide in Massachusetts

  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more people in Massachusetts die annually from suicide than from motor vehicle accidents (National Vital Statistics Reports, April 24, 2008). In 2007, the state’s suicide rate (8.0 per 100,000 people) was almost three times...
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Supreme Court

Let’s Say Roe Goes—Hurray! Then What?

  Neil Gorsuch’s probable ascension to the Supreme Court nicely conforms to a script that pro-life advocates hopeful of seeing Roe v. Wade overturned have been writing in their minds for the past year: Elect a Republican president, who soon fills Scalia’s seat with a pro-life...
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Choose What?

  What is the pro-life movement about? Oddly, it is this question that is most contested. If pro-choice people agreed with us as to the purpose of the pro-life movement, we might actually get somewhere. This was brought home to me recently at a conversation-with-cookies...
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The Left’s Failure: Why Nat Hentoff Lost His Friends

  He shocked his friends, and lost a good many of them. He said something no one in his circles would say. In doing so, he exposed one of the weirder and sadder failures in modern American political life. Nat Hentoff was one of the really cool guys. He wrote for the New York...
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Government by Twitter?

  It is clear that Donald Trump will keep tweeting after he is sworn into office as President. His Twitter site now claims to have over 20 million followers. What politician would give up such a goldmine of support? Especially when media reporters follow it closely? If Trump...
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Wei Jingsheng, Champion of Universal Human Rights

Wei Jingsheng, perhaps the Peoples Republic of China’s best known pro-democracy, human-rights activist, spent a total of 18 years in prison as a dissident charged with “counter revolution propaganda and agitation.” He was released in 1997 and, following pressure from the Clinton...
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Respect for Abortion Victims in Texas

Great is the fury of the pro-choice community. And wouldn’t you be riled, too, if the State of Texas (or any other governmental entity, for that matter) had undertaken to train an unflattering spotlight on your philosophical premises? That’s what Texas’ new requirement for...
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The Democratic Party v. Children

After their devastating losses in the November election, Democratic Party leaders finally understand that they have a huge problem with blue-collar Americans. They know it will take major efforts to regain the trust of the working class they used to champion. But doesn’t it occur...
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The Pro-Choice Abuse of Logic

It’s the claim that the opponent argues illogically when he hasn’t that’s the sneaky thing. People on all sides of every contentious issue do this, but the pro-choice movement seems—and I’ll admit I may be biased here—particularly keen on this way of trying to win an argument...
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Now and Then: Hillary and Victoria

One hundred and forty-four years separate the first woman to campaign for the presidency of the United States and the latest to have done so. Despite this extended period of time, during which America has changed dramatically, it is interesting to note that the lives and views of...
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Student Conference and D.C. Highlight Attack on the “Do No Harm” Principle

  Students for Life of America (SFLA) held its annual Northeast Leadership Summit in November, providing leadership training for college pro-life groups. One of the speakers was Edward Mechmann, an attorney who is Director of Public Policy for the Archdiocese of New York....
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Chemical Abortions on the Rise among U.S. Women

  According to a recent report by Reuters, abortion in America has reached a new turning point: Nearly half—43 percent—of abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics are now medication-induced rather than surgical procedures. It’s a sharp increase since 2010, when Planned...
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Transcending Partisan Politics: EXPECT Holds First University Panel Discussion

  On October 5th, EXPECT, the Human Life Foundation’s new initiative for college students and young professionals, co-sponsored a panel discussion with Columbia University Right to Life on “Transcending Partisan Politics in the Pro-Life Movement.” We had a strong turnout on...
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“Dignity”

A majestic lady recently took her place on a bluff overlooking the mighty Missouri River in South Dakota. On September 17th, a shiny and silvery statue called “Dignity” was unveiled near Chamberlain, a small town on the riverbank, along the route followed by Lewis and Clark as...
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Henry Hyde and Mother Teresa

“The 54-million-person hole in America.”

  That’s the title of Christian Schneider’s Sept. 25 column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And what a thought-provoking column it is. When Schneider was four, he tells us, his five-year-old sister was killed after a tornado sent a tree crashing into the family’s camper:...
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The Before and After of September 11

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I left our apartment with our son James, to take him across town for his second day at a new special education school. As I stood on the crosstown bus, I was thinking about the introduction for the Summer issue of the Human Life Review, which...
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The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Guideposts to save the world?

In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a series of goals and targets in order to eradicate poverty, eliminate inequality, and subdue climate change by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), comprising 17 goals, 169 targets, and 230 indicators (to...
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Go North of Your Own Tension Line

  Woof! Woof! It’s the dog days of summer. Actually, the phrase has something to do with the stars, not with canine friends, but never mind. It’s so hot or so humid you don’t want to move. Unless you happen to have children who have the misfortune to attend a school that...
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Guidance for the Election

  In this life, everything—including politics—is a messy mixture of good and evil, virtue and sin, truth and falsehood. Voters will always have to choose between imperfect candidates. Feeling as if one option is just as bad as the other must not become an occasion to lose...
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Sorry, Mrs. Clinton

  Yeah, of course I’d visit with Annemarie. I didn’t know her, but I knew her parents. We’ve long been members of the same Episcopal parish. She was interested in journalism as a career. She hoped to ask me some questions (as if an old warhorse from the...
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convention

Dem vs. GOP Platforms: Which Is the Party of No?

The platforms of the two political parties reveal, albeit unintentionally, which party holds the moral high ground and which is in defensive mode. To begin with, the Republican platform is written in English. The words actually mean what they say. The Democrat platform is written...
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Pro-life ribbon

Recent Pro-Life Progress in the 114th Congress

Last week, Congress made real progress for Life. July 14, was a crazy all-over-the-map legislative day. By the end of it, the Freedom of Conscience Act  had been passed 254-182, and pro-life initiatives had advanced. Two important bills, the Labor-HHS and the State Department...
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Congress to Vote This Week on Protection Against Discrimination

Take Action Now! This week Congress is going to vote on what posterity may someday look back upon as one of the most important votes in the history of our country. It’s called the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R.4828/S.2927). Here’s why it’s needed urgently. Back in the...
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The Power of Women: 2016 Pro-Life Women’s Conference

The first ever pro-life women’s conference took place on the weekend of June 24-26 in Dallas. Hosted by activist Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None, the conference attracted women from all over the country eager to hear from female leaders and connect with one another. Over...
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One of Six Raped While Incapacitated

  The word “rape” is abused almost to the point of meaninglessness. Feminist zealots argue that a pervasive “rape culture” causes the high incidence of rape on college campuses today. In the name of addressing this crisis, federal legislation proposes to seize yet more...
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Quadriplegia? Just a word

Moy Moy has quadriplegia. How did I not know this? I know the meaning of “quad” (4) and I know that Moy Moy has neither the use of her arms (2), nor her legs (2). I also know that 2 + 2 = 4. And yet somehow the term “quadriplegic” has never occurred to me in connection with Moy...
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Counterattacks Intensifying

  Counterattacks against pro-life gains are intensifying. In Washington State, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are scoring candidates for state office according to whether they will promise to regulate (i.e., suffocate) pregnancy resource centers. At this very moment, the...
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Civil Unions in Italy: The Battle for the Soul of the Family

    On the evening of May 11, the Italian Chamber of Deputies approved by a wide margin a legislative proposal to legalize civil unions for gay (and heterosexual) couples. Known as Cirinnà’s Law, after its sponsor, Senator Monica Cirinnà, the bill had been passed by the...
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Twenty-two Weeks to Go

    Last week was pretty much business as usual for the pro-life movement in Washington . . .  as the country heads into what may be the most important presidential election in our lifetimes. On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a non-decision in the Little Sisters of...
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birth control pills

Not a Pretty Sight: Obama’s (Latest) Gift to Planned Parenthood

  On March 30 Planned Parenthood got a big gift from the Obama Administration. That’s the day the FDA rewrote the label on chemical abortion drugs. Now, the FDA regulations conform to what had long been the common off-label use of the drugs by chemical-abortion providers. If that...
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“Pare la Guerra!”

“Pare la guerra . . . Stop the war!” Those were the final words uttered by Sr. Maria de Guadalupe, a missionary who has lived in Syria, as she ended her presentation at a United Nations gathering last month titled “Defending Religious Freedom and Other Human Rights: Stopping Mass...
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Cecile Richards

A Mandate for Further Investigation: The House Select Committee on Infant Lives

A Congressional hearing on April 20 gave the House Select Committee on Infant Lives a clear bipartisan mandate for further investigation into Stem Express and other companies engaged in fetal tissue procurement. Prior to the hearing Democrat staff leaked to Stem Express some of...
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New book by Abby Johnson

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Abortion Clinic Stories

  “You can’t make this stuff up” I thought, as I was  reading a particularly gripping account in Abby Johnson’s new book, The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories;  a few paragraphs later, a clinic worker herself  observes that “Sometimes...
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GOOD NEWS TO USHER IN SPRING IN THE BIG APPLE

  On March 30, after more than four years, a civil case brought by three pregnancy care centers against New York City was settled in the centers’ favor. The case, Pregnancy Care Center of NY v. City of New York, was brought in response to Local Law 17, which then Mayor...
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This Vacancy Will Keep: Leave Scalia’s Seat Empty

Pro-lifers across the country should make it a priority this week to contact their two U. S. Senators   The media machine of the Left is in high gear now, attacking conservative Senators because they don’t want to waste their time. For how many years did the media lament...
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Women’s Wombs: Not for Hire, Sale or Purchase!

  Maternal surrogacy has become a major item on the reproductive-rights agenda and a rapidly expanding segment of the innovative procreation market. Concocted by whatever means, a human embryo is implanted in a “rented womb” of an unrelated woman—usually a very po...
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birth control pills

What Does HHS Want from the Little Sisters?

The Daily Signal had the best headline last week: “Big Brother Bullies Little Sisters at the Supreme Court.” That was on March 23, the day the justices heard oral arguments in the Little Sisters of the Poor case (Zubik v. Burwell), the latest trip to the high court for those...
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Maryland Court of Appeals Upholds Hiding Names of Abortion Clinic Licensees

  All sorts of natural, legal, and Constitutional standards have been warped in order to accommodate the unrestricted right to abortion inherent in the Supreme Court’s 1973 rulings, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. It is a right that denies fathers an equal interest in the...
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