Tag Archives: louisiana

‘Signs of hope’ in abortion clinics

Louisiana’s new abortion clinic law protects woman and their unborn children . . .

Dorinda C. Bordlee

Every woman deserves love and commitment. But a tragic consequence of Roe v. Wade is that it creates a social environment where men can sexually objectify women and then subtly or overtly coerce abortion if pregnancy results. It’s often an employer, friend or parent who pressures the woman into an abortion clinic.

To help address this tragic state of affairs, the Bioethics Defense Fund drafted the innovative “Signs of Hope” legislation, which was recently put into effect by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. It requires 16 x 20 inch signs to be hung in abortion clinic waiting areas and patient rooms featuring information women deserve to know.

Despite the fact that the signs are straightforward — the headline is “Notice: Women’s Rights and Pregnancy Resources” — the Planned Parenthood rep described them in committee testimony as “condescending” and “offensive.” The signs highlight four key points:

• You can’t be forced. It is unlawful for anyone to make you have an abortion against your will.
• You and the father. The father must provide child support, even if he offered to pay for an abortion.
• You and adoption. The law allows adoptive parents to pay costs of prenatal care, childbirth and newborn care.
• You are not alone. Many agencies are willing to help you carry your child to term and to assist after your child’s birth.

The sign then boldly features a website that can be accessed even in the abortion clinic by a woman using a smart phone or laptop. The Signs of Hope legislation is thus designed to complement the printed booklets required by existing Women’s Right to Know laws so that women can digitally access photos and videos of the unborn child, information about abortion risks and listings of adoption services, pregnancy resource centers that provide free ultrasound, prenatal care and a variety of health services.

The law also requires that abortion clinics put the new website on their home pages. Clinics must also provide the site to anyone scheduling an appointment for an abortion. Cindy Collins, the director of a center that counsels post-abortive women, dubbed the bill the “Signs of Hope Act,” explaining that the signs will bring hope to women who often feel hopeless and coerced due to a perceived lack of alternatives.

But the reality is that the words on this sign were born from the tragic car accident that took the life of Violet Nikas, the mother of Bioethics Defense Fund co-founder and president Nikolas T. Nikas. Right after the funeral, I was asked to draft a bill that would require an “abortion coercion” warning sign. With the faces of my friends who had been robbed and beaten by the abortion industry in the front of my mind, I placed myself in their shoes as they sat in the waiting room of an abortion clinic. What would they want to see on that sign?

That’s when I started writing a love letter to these women as if they were the final words I could tack to the wall. I wanted women to know that there are many selfless people in the pro-life movement who are there for them. I wanted them to know that they could give their children the support of an adoptive family. I wanted Violet to know that her death might result in signs of life.

We encourage policy leaders to contact us for a copy of the model bill and complementary legal support. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that states have a strong interest in promoting childbirth over abortion, and the Signs of Hope Act does just that.

Dorinda C. Bordlee is senior counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, a non-profi t legal organization that advocates for the dignity of human life through litigation, legislation and public education. For more information: bdfund.org/signsofhope

Legatus grows in Baton Rouge

The Louisiana chapter focuses on teaching and fellowship and sees results

Chaplain Fr. Miles Walsh installs two new couples on June 24

Chaplain Fr. Miles Walsh installs two new couples on June 24

At first glance, it wasn’t clear whether the Baton Rouge Chapter’s summer social was a cheering section for the LSU baseball team or a gathering of Catholic business executives.

As Legates began to arrive for their monthly chapter event, the Louisiana State University Tigers were preparing to go head-to-head with the Texas Longhorns in the College World Series. Members’ conversations alternated between faith and politics, but eventually turned to the evening’s hottest topic … college baseball.

But when the evening’s hosts — Brent and Rhonda Honoré — and the chapter’s chaplain, Fr. Miles Walsh, called members to order, the room went silent as Legatus members quickly focused on the evening’s main event — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Stunning growth

Since its chartering in 2004, the Baton Rouge Chapter has become one of Legatus’ fastest-growing chapters and a model for chapters across the country. Membership chair Joseph Melançon has his eye on it becoming the largest chapter in the Legatus family by providing a quality experience for members and guests.

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan speaks to the Baton Rouge Chapter at its June 24 summer social

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan speaks to the Baton Rouge Chapter at its June 24 summer social

“The most immediate aspect of recruitment and retention is that you have to deliver a quality product month in and month out,” he said. “As a local board, we have worked hard on seeking out new members to make sure that they feel like they’re part of the group. The old cliché is true: enthusiasm is contagious. Our members’ enthusiasm is contagious, and consequently it has spilled over to everyone.”

Chapter president Charlie Schutte agrees.

“We make an effort to make our guests feel welcome,” he explained. “Prospective members have been very impressed with the quality of the meetings and the substance of the speakers. Our members have worked hard to identify potential members and let them know about Legatus.”

That kind of concerted effort has been effective. At a time when some chapters are losing members due to the difficult economy, Baton Rouge is bucking the trend. In a city of 227,000 people, the chapter boasts 106 members, with 22 of them joining this year.

Ronnie LaBorde, who served as the chapter’s first president, says the key to sustaining growth in troubled times is staying true to Legatus’ mission.

“As a CEO, you have the opportunity to be involved in a lot of things,” he explained, “but from my first Legatus meeting, it was different in two ways — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and your spouse was always part of the evening. So Legatus isn’t just another group. It’s the Mass, people with the similar interests, the spiritual nourishment, and quality speakers that you don’t ordinarily have access to.”

Spiritual nourishment

Fr. Miles Walsh

Fr. Miles Walsh

Founding chaplain Fr. Miles Walsh was instrumental in developing a chapter in Baton Rouge. He gathered prospective members together with a few existing members at his parish in 2003. The excitement for Legatus was immediate, he said, and continues to grow — especially around the sacraments.

“There’s a real sense of fraternity at Communion,” he said. “We’re pretty faithful to the rosary and confession before Mass.”

Legatus pilgrimages and annual summits have also been key to Legatus’ growth in Baton Rouge.

“Once you begin to attend summits, you begin to see the spirit behind Legatus and its potential,” Fr. Walsh said, “And you also get a deeper understanding of what Legatus is really about.”

Melançon shares that sentiment.

“I thought that I was a good Catholic,” he said. “Then [my wife] Paula and I went to a summit, then a pilgrimage. After rubbing elbows with other members, I realized how much I really had to learn. This has been a fabulous learning experience for me. I get so much out of Legatus every month that I want other people to be a part of it.”

Patrick Novecosky is the editor of Legatus Magazine. To learn more about Legatus in Baton Rouge, visit the chapter’s website: www.legatusbr.org