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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

The Need for Baby Olivia Legislation

Jenifer Bowen  |  25 March 2024

 

In 2021,[1] Lila Rose of the pro-life powerhouse, Live Action,[2] confirmed they created “Meet Baby Olivia,” a “medically accurate… depiction of life in the womb.”[3]

 

This 3-minute, technologically-advanced animation brilliantly portrays the formation of human beings in the womb.  Live Action’s[4] collaboration was “created with a team of medical experts and world-class illustrators,”[5] after review and certification by six OB-GYNs and medical professionals, gaining “30-million views its first year, with tens of millions more” by May 2023.[6]

 

Pro-life lawmakers are seeking its inclusion or similar ones in school curricula. North Dakota’s 2023 legislature easily passed it, with Governor Doug Burgum signing it 2-days later. This law[7] added a section to their code,[8] ensuring[9] students watch a medically-verified video, chronicling gestational development, affording comprehensive understanding that, from fertilization everyone is alive.

 

North Dakota was first, but not the last state, desirous of bringing this life-affirming education into classrooms. Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia lawmakers are considering Baby Olivia-related legislation. Similar legislation has been introduced in Hawaii,[10] but has not gained momentum.[11]

 

The proposed legislation in Iowa would require, junior and senior high students to learn about unborn childrens’ humanity.[12] This legislation goes beyond showing the film. The Education Committee sponsored this legislation, deeming “age-appropriate and research-based… lessons, along with other related topics, should be included in every student’s education.”[14] By amending state code, health education shall contain… “prevention and control of disease, including sexually transmitted…and instruct on…development inside the womb…And the brain, heart, sex organs, and other vital organs…comparable to ‘Meet Baby Olivia’,[15] developed by Live Action,[16] showing the process of fertilization and every stage of human development...”[17]

 

The proposal survived the second funnel.[18] Prior to that and after successful passage out of the House, it received enough Senate committee votes to stay alive after it was amended [19] when Republican State Senator Jeff Taylor successfully argued any references to Baby Olivia should be stripped.[20] Taylor’s amendment compels schools to provide “seventh-twelfth grade students ultrasound videos…that depict the humanity of the unborn child…from fertilization to birth.”[21] Iowa’s majority party likely has until April 16 to secure its passage.[22] Despite the fact that several self-proclaimed “pro-life” state representatives either opposed or went undeclared on this legislation to bring scientific, humanity-based education to students,[54] it is encouraging to see lawmakers seeking to bolster junior and senior high education, allowing them to gain understanding on who is alive inside wombs.

 

With wide support for this bill, shrill outcry from the anti-life crowd remains undimmed. Unsurprisingly, America’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, accompanied by media allies, are loudly revolting, rife with unimaginative, stale talking points. Predominant accusations include calling it “propaganda,”[23] pushing “medical inaccuracies.”[24] In response, Lila Rose noted that accusers cannot point to one fallacy.[25]

 

The “propagandizing” claims fail because its creators’ relied on fetal development data from the esteemed “Endowment for Human Development”[26] and meticulous review and certification by six OB-GYNs and medical professionals.[27]

 

The Associated Press (AP) revealed abortion extremists’ discomfort with Baby Olivia in comments from, “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” a trade union, labeling it “misinformation…designed to manipulate...”[28] Emily Boevers, an Iowa OB-GYN, is dismayed that the humanity of unborn babies and their generally occurring range of activity are portrayed. Using accurate terms like, “playing, exploring, sighing and making speaking movements,”…“those words assign human traits,” balked a horrified Boevers.[29] Google and YouTube banned Live Action’s[30] related ads, baselessly accusing them of touting “unreliable claims.”[31]

 

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is opposed. The AP article includes support for its “portrayal of science”[32] from arguably Iowa’s staunchest, pro-life warrior, Representative Luana Stoltenberg[33], who is ever-transparent about her tortured past, aborting three children.[34]

 

Post-abortive, she keenly knows that by showing students fetal facts, they “learn how they are developed and grow…” “...If they become pregnant, they decide ‘maybe I do not want an abortion?’ Is that a horrible thing?”[35] Another proponent for Baby Olivia in classrooms is post-abortive Amber Williams, who is certain she would not have aborted “had I been shown the video…I would have chosen life. This curriculum is needed and it will be impactful.”[36] The bill’s floor manager, Representative Anne Osmundson stated, “This is teaching basic biology to our children and it helps to answer one of life’s biggest questions: ‘where did I come from’?”[37] In February, Lila Rose articulated that abortion zealots’ resist accurate portrayals “...to dehumanize children in the womb to convince kids that killing children in the womb is ok.”[38]

 

Pro-life Iowans are encouraged to see this educational priority progressing, but state-wide concerns remain, deliberately unaddressed by politicians.

 

Educational tools, such as “Meet Baby Olivia” are of vital importance, especially in Iowa. After the Dobbs decision, Iowa became an abortion sanctuary state.[39] First and foremost, abortions, for any reason, rage on throughout 20-weeks of pregnancy. An immediate influx began with women traveling to Iowa, by ground and air, solely for abortions. They do so through Planned Parenthood North Central States’ (PPNCS) “abortion navigators” or by volunteer pilots, many being retired military.[40] Abortion-minded women visit from surrounding states and from as far as Texas, Louisiana, and more.

 

Unsurprisingly, everything is up:

 

-Abortion rates keep rising, whereas more than 1-dozen unborn babies are now killed in Iowa - daily. A kindergarten class - murdered every 2-days.

 

-Reviewing Iowa’s abortion statistics and making another conservative prediction, 26,387 unborn babies will lose their lives to abortion by 2024’s end, just since 2018.[41]

 

-Following Roe’s demise, Iowa saw a 10% rise in chemical abortions, with abortionists only present by webcam.[42] For over a decade, pro-life advocates have been decrying dangerous abortion pills.[43] Research shows related visits to emergency rooms are “estimated in the tens of thousands.”[44]

 

-A 100% increase in out-of-state women ending the lives of their unborn babies has taken place in this abortion sanctuary.[45]

 

-PPNCS closed under-performing abortion sites. Good, right? Not necessarily when they do so to concentrate on significantly expanding urban abortion services in Des Moines, Ames (a university-town), and adjacent Omaha, Nebraska - all with the intention of even more daily abortions.[46]

 

Despite the fact that since 2016, Iowa has been experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime, leadership boon, including a “pro-life” political trifecta with the House, Senate and Governorship in their hands, attempts to ban all abortions continue to meet insurmountable hurdles.[47] In both 2018 and 2023, Iowa passed Fetal Heartbeat laws, only to be obstructed by the courts. So far, these legislative attempts to protect the unborn have not been able to save any lives.

 

Even this legislative attempt would still allow abortions before six weeks.[50]  Additionally, it allows multiple pro-abortion “exceptions,” including exterminating babies who are labeled “incompatible with life.”[51] As if mankind knows better than the Perfect Creator of those most vulnerable babies. Nobody knows more than God.

 

Sadly, lawmakers missed another opportunity to ban abortions. An amended House File 2256,[52] while complicated, afforded an opportunity to recognize the humanity of all unborn children through the application of a wrongful death statute. Rather than making necessary changes to remove concerning language, House Judiciary Committee chairman, Steve Holt, as in past years, refused to amend this life-saving legislation, leaving Iowa a flourishing abortion destination for the foreseeable future.[53] As “pro-life” politicians continually stymie abortion bans, how many more unborn babies will violently die in the seemingly innocuous name of abortion?

 

Since this perpetual tragedy of intentionally denying abortion bans occurred again as in the last several sessions, “pro-life” lawmakers display no intention of keeping their oft’ repeated campaign promises of ending abortions to loyal, pro-life Iowans.

 

Therefore there is still “...no abortion ban. No life-saving legislation. Not a single bill to protect babies in the womb.”[54]

 

Meanwhile, you can help make abortion unthinkable while these legislatures strive to join North Dakotans, now impactfully educating adolescents.

 

First, please view “Meet Baby Olivia.”[55] Secondly, share this timely film as often as possible.[56]

 

No matter your state, please contact your politicians. If you reside in Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, or Hawaii, let them know you support the legislation allowing students to learn about fetal development. If you are in any other state, please reach out to your lawmakers and governor, alerting them to this legislative remedy, instructing students on the humanity of unborn babies.

 

Together we work to end all abortions and can make them unthinkable by shining the light of truth on the wondrous window into the womb.

___________

Jenifer Bowen is a long-time leader in the pro-life movement, including an extensive tenure as the CEO of Iowa Right to Life. In 2019, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, her body riddled with it from her brain to both femurs, most bones and so many places in-between! While it is a life-long battle, her disease remains miraculously in a rare, INACTIVE state since early 2023. She is more passionate than ever before in defense of unborn babies and their mothers, the infirm, disabled, and elderly people, and will always, unabashedly, seek to speak the Truth to all, particularly those in power.

 

[1]  Live Action. “Baby Olivia,” a short film.  Baby Olivia.Live Action website. https://babyolivia.liveaction.org.

[2]  Live Action.  www.liveaction.org.

[3]  Lila Rose, X status.  X.  February 24.  2024.  https://twitter.com/LilaGraceRose/status/1761529753679589620

[4]  Id. at [2].

[5]  Id. at [1].

[6]  Flanders, Nancy.  “Baby Olivia reaches a major milestone.”  Live Action.  May 29.  2023.   https://www.liveaction.org/news/baby-olivia-reaches-a-major-milestone.

[7]  North Dakota Legislative Branch.  “HB 1265.”  North Dakota Legislative Branch.  April 13.  2023.  https://ndlegis.gov/assembly/68-2023/regular/bill-actions/ba1265.html.

[8]  North Dakota Legislative Branch.  “Engrossed House Bill No. 1265.”  North Dakota Legislative Branch.  2023.  https://ndlegis.gov/assembly/68-2023/regular/documents/23-0582-05000.pdf.

[9]  Dileo, Azariah.  “New North Dakota law requires schools to teach about fetal development in health class.”  Belmont University Health Law Journal.  May 9.  2023. 

https://www.belmonthealthlaw.com/2023/05/09/new-north-dakota-law-requires-schools-to-teach-about-fetal-development-in-health-class.

[10]  Hawai‘i House of Representatives.  “A bill for an act relating to growth and development in sexuality health education curriculum.”  Minority Caucus Package.  January.   2024.

https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessions/session2024/bills/HB1727_.HTM.

[11]  Hawai‘i State Legislature.  “Relating to growth and development in sexuality health education curriculum.”  Minority Caucus Package.  January 24.  2024. 

https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1727&year=2024.

[12]  Iowa House Committee on Education.  “House File 2617.”  The Iowa Legislature.  2024. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=90&ba=HF%202617.

[13]  Id.

[14]  Id.

[15]  Id. at [1].

[16]  Id. at [2].

[17]  Id. at [12].

[18]  Rooker, Amanda.  “Which bills died and which survived the Iowa Legislature's second funnel deadline.”  KCCI-Des Moines.  March 14.  2024.  https://www.kcci.com/article/iowa-legislature-second-funnel-deadline-which-bills-died-which-survived/60206098.

[19]  Iowa House Committee on Education.  “House File 2617 amended.”  The Iowa Legislature.    2024.  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=90&ba=S5073.

[20]  Opsahl, Robin.  “GOP senator proposes dropping bill’s reference to ‘Meet Baby Olivia’ video.”  March 12.  2024.  https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2024/03/12/gop-senator-proposes-dropping-bills-reference-to-meet-baby-olivia-video.

[21]  Id. at [19].

[22]  Legislative Services Agency.  “90th Iowa General Assembly 2024 Iowa legislative session timetable.”  Legislative Services Agency.  January-April.  2024. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/SESTT/current.pdf.

[23]  Cheung , Kylie.  “Iowa joins wave of states trying to force schools to show kids anti-abortion propaganda.”  Jezebel.  January 31.  2024.  https://www.jezebel.com/iowa-joins-wave-of-states-trying-to-force-schools-to-sh-1851212285

[24]  Hytrek, Nikoel.  “GOP bill that promotes anti-abortion propaganda in Iowa schools advances.”  Iowa Starting Line.  January 30.  2024.  https://iowastartingline.com/2024/01/30/gop-bill-that-promotes-anti-abortion-propaganda-in-iowa-schools-advances.

[25]  Lila Rose.  “X post.”  X.  February 24.  2024.  https://twitter.com/LilaGraceRose/status/1761529753679589620.

[26]  Endowment for Human Development.  https://www.ehd.org.

[27]  Id. at [1].

[28]  Fingerhut, Hannah.  “Sex ed classes in some states may soon watch a fetal development video from an anti-abortion group.”  February 22.  2024. 

https://apnews.com/article/baby-olivia-sex-education-fetal-development-42415141e15057bc91f34bc2d34e449e.

[29]  Id.

[30]  Id. at [2].

[31]  Lila Rose.  “X post.”  X.  September 14.  2021.  https://twitter.com/LilaGraceRose/status/1437842762154528770.

[32]  Id. at [28].

[33]  Bowen, Jenifer.  “Iowa still needs to pass pro-life abortion ban.”  Society of St. Sebastian.  March 17.  2023.  https://www.societyofstsebastian.org/ia-prolife-leg-bowen?fbclid=IwAR3Kg Fqb-HBQGB7sIsVSY8e8k9LDD9J4wMcKflGGbo6I_MvAK4gfA7nQPM.

[34]  Stoltenberg, Luana.  “Luana’s Story.”  Luana Stoltenberg.  Undated.  https://www.luanastoltenberg.com/luana-s-story.

[35] Id. at [28].

[36]  Henderson, O. Kay.  “Bill calls for Iowa 1st-6th graders to get instruction on pregnancy development.”  Radio Iowa.  January 30.2024.    https://www.radioiowa.com/2024/01/30/bill-calls-for-iowa-1st-6th-graders-to-get-instruction-on-pregnancy-development.

[37]  Sostaric, Katarina.  “House passes a bill to require fetal development education in Iowa schools.”  Iowa Public Radio.  February 29.  2024.  https://www.iowapublicradio.org/state-government-news/2024-02-29/bill-fetal-development-education-iowa-schools-meet-baby-olivia-anti-abortion.

[38]  Lila Rose, X status.  X.  February 24.  2024.  https://twitter.com/LilaGraceRose/status/1761529753679589620.

[39]  Bowen, Jenifer.  “Abortion across America’s Heartland: Are preborn children safer since Roe’s fall?”  Live Action.  October 23.  2022.   https://www.liveaction.org/news/abortion-across-americas-heartland-preborn-roe.

[40]  Id.

[41]  Iowa Department of Health and Human Services.  Undated.  https://hhs.iowa.gov.

[42]  Clayworth, Jason.  “Telemedicine abortions are on the rise in Iowa.”  Axios Des Moines.  August 29.  2023. https://www.axios.com/local/des-moines/2023/08/29/telemedicine-abortions-increase-iowa-planned-parenthood.

[43]  Bowen, Jenifer.  “Webcam Abortions in Iowa: Will They Stay or Will They Go?”  Caffeinated Thoughts.  October 31.  2013.  https://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/10/webcam-abortions-iowa-stay-go.

[44]  Novielli, Carole.  “Emergency room visits from abortion pill ‘estimated in the tens of thousands’.”  Live Action.  March 8.  2024.  https://www.liveaction.org/news/emergency-room-visits-abortion-pill-tens-thouands/?fbclid=IwAR0IRu3gAWAcEOGzgkap0ceJa2Nm25erfBuSU53Xg2buA0vCKrPum8YnYB0_aem_AdIIHCc2nc-qiphXdvLwMMGuOj6hD6jixDbR3buVZXb_yWE9VkqkmUy5OLE3v1VNKqs.

[45]  Akin, Katie.  “Planned Parenthood to close some Iowa centers but increase capacity for rising abortions.”  Des Moines Register.  June 23.  2023.  https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2023/06/23/iowa-planned-parenthood-adjusts-for-increased-abortion-demand-pregnancy-supreme-court/70349946007.

[46]  CEO Richardson, Ruth.  “Planned Parenthood North Central States announces health center and staffing changes amid ongoing threats to providing care.”  Planned Parenthood North Central States Media Relations.  January 31.  2024.  https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-north-central-states/about-ppncs/media-relations/planned-parenthood-north-central-states-announces-health-center-and-staffing-changes-amid-ongoing-threats-to-providing-care.

[47]  Bowen, Jenifer.  “Iowa still needs to pass pro-life abortion ban.”  Society of St. Sebastian.  March 17.  2023.  https://www.societyofstsebastian.org/ia-prolife-leg-bowen?fbclid=IwAR3Kg Fqb-HBQGB7sIsVSY8e8k9LDD9J4wMcKflGGbo6I_MvAK4gfA7nQPM.

[48]  The Iowa Legislature. “BillBook: House File 732.  The Iowa Legislature.  July 14.  2023.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=90&ba=HF%20732.

[49]  Keicher, Natasha.  “Iowa Supreme Court to hear so-called fetal heartbeat law case in April.”  WHO-13 Des Moines.  March 14.  2024.  https://who13.com/news/iowa-supreme-court-to-hear-so-called-fetal-heartbeat-law-case-in-april.

[50]  Author Unknown.  “First of our three billion heartbeats is sooner than we thought.”  University of Oxford news and events.  October 11.  2016. 

https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-10-11-first-our-three-billion-heartbeats-sooner-we-thought.

[51]  The Iowa Legislature. “BillBook: House File 732.  The Iowa Legislature.  July 14.  2023.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=90&ba=HF%20732.

[52]  The Iowa Legislature. “BillBook: House File 2256.  The Iowa Legislature.  February 1.  2024.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=90&ba=hf2256.

[53]  Id. at [47].

[54]  Id. at [47].

[55]  Id. at [1].

[56]  Id. at [1].

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