CULTURE DIGEST: Abortion clinics giving Sunday discounts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- American abortion clinics increasingly are offering discounts for their lethal procedures on Sundays.
For instance, Orlando (Fla.) Women's Center advertises its Sunday abortion services in this way, according to The Christian Post: "LIMITED TIME SPECIAL! PRINT THIS PAGE AND BRING IT IN FOR $50 SAVINGS. ONLY ON SUNDAYS!"
A pro-life leader says the day of the discounts is connected to Christians' presence with their churches instead of outside the clinics.
"I don't think there is any coincidence ... abortion facilities are facing increasing presence from Christians praying during business hours and are having to change up their business hours to try to avoid the attention," said Michael Martelli, executive director of Maryland Coalition for Life, according to The Post.
PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN: SCARS 'JEWEL,' 'GIFT FROM GOD' -- A woman who was attacked with battery acid when she publicly professed Christianity says her resultant scarring is her jewel and gift from God, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Julie Aftab was attacked 10 years ago in Faisalabad, Pakistan by two Muslim men angered because she wore a silver cross pendant around her neck as a sign of Christianity. Now 26, she has endured 31 surgeries and lives with a host family in Houston, Texas, while attending college.
"Those people, they think they did a bad thing to me, but they brought me closer to God," Aftab said of the men who sprayed her with battery acid and poured it down her throat. "They helped me fulfill my dreams. I never imagined I could be the person I am today."
The acid burned such a whole in the right side of Aftab's face that her teeth began falling from her mouth as she ran screaming through the streets. She reportedly could not speak or move her arms. Doctors said nearly 70 percent of her esophagus was burned and predicted she would die from her injuries, according to the Chronicle.
Now majoring in accounting at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and scheduled for her U.S. naturalization interview on July 17, Aftab says she has forgiven the men and is looking forward to a bright future.
"There is a reason God gave me life," she said. "I don't want to miss one second of it."
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DIRECTLY FUNDS PLANNED PARENTHOOD -- The Obama administration has again outflanked state or local governments to fund the country's leading abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis (Tenn.) will receive nearly $1.2 million in federal funds during the next three years, The Nashville Tennessean reported. The Department of Health and Human Services grant comes after the Tennessee legislature eliminated more than $700,000 in state funds for the Memphis Planned Parenthood affiliate and Shelby County transferred a nearly $400,000 family planning contract to another entity.
Last year, New Hampshire barred Planned Parenthood of Northern New Hampshire's six state clinics from receiving $1.8 million in federal and state family planning funds, but the Obama administration granted a $1 million contract to the organization three months later.
"Clearly, protecting Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded bottom line -- and not protecting women and girls -– is President Obama's top priority," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. "He has refused to yield in the face of Planned Parenthood's scandals including their exposure as an ally of alleged human traffickers and as willing to turn a blind eye to sex-selective abortion in their clinics."
Federal family planning funds may not be used for the performance of abortions, but pro-life advocates point out the government grants free up other funds for use in Planned Parenthood's abortion business.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates received government grants, contracts and reimbursements that totaled $487.4 million in 2009-10, the latest year for which statistics are available. PPFA's affiliates reported their clinics did 329,445 abortions in 2010, their first drop in 15 years.
MASS. EMBRYONIC STEM CELL BANK TO CLOSE -- A stem cell bank funded by the state of Massachusetts to circumvent President George W. Bush's restriction on federal funding of lethal research on human embryos will close after it runs out of money at the end of the year.
The state invested $8.6 million to create the bank in 2008 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, but it is now obsolete following President Obama's reversal of the Bush restriction and the technological progress made in recent years, the Boston Globe reported.
Bioethics specialist Wesley Smith said the establishment of the bank seemed "more about liberal politics than actual scientific need. And now ESCR [embryonic stem cell research] is becoming increasingly passe."
He wrote on his blog, "Back in those days when hype and lies ruled the biotech discourse, states were tripping over each other in an Oklahoma Land Race mentality trying to attract all the business opportunities, taxes and employment that the ESCR industry would create. Well, they're still waiting."
While many scientists touted ESCR, it has failed to produce the results of adult stem cells or to show the promise of induced pluripotent stem cells. ESCR also is extremely controversial, primarily because extraction of such cells results in the destruction of days-old human embryos.
Compiled by Tom Strode and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).