Episode 158 | Location, Location, Location!

The battle has already heated up in the new year! We discuss the surprising legal battles over location data and emergency treatment laws as they relate to abortion. Meanwhile, the Pope calls for a ban on surrogacy – which he says is a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child. Is he right? We discuss all this and more in this week’s episode of the Pro-Life America podcast.

Episode Synopsis:

The battle has already heated up in the new year! We discuss the surprising legal battles over location data and emergency treatment laws as they relate to abortion. Meanwhile, the Pope calls for a ban on surrogacy – which he says is a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child. Is he right? We discuss all this and more in this week’s episode of the Pro-Life America podcast.

Episode Duration: 20 min

Transcript

[Intro with Music]:

Sometimes controversial, always politically incorrect, and pro-life without exception, without compromise, and without apology. It’s the Pro-Life America podcast with your hosts, Sarah Waites and the president of Life Dynamics, Mark Crutcher.


Sarah: Welcome back to the Pro-Life America podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Waites, and I’m joined by my faithful co-host.

Sheila: (laughs) You make me sound like a dog, like Kodak over here. The dog, you know, chewing on the bone. Faithful! She’s so faithful.

(laughter)

Sarah: Sheila Crutcher, everybody. 

(laughter)

Sheila: Hi, and Happy New Year.

Sarah: Happy New Year! Kicking this year off with a bang. If you follow our emails, I made a slight prediction. Now, I don’t claim to be a fortune teller or a beacon of wisdom.

Sheila: Mm-mm, you’re definitely not.

Sarah: But I expect that this year we’ll see a lot of important battles over abortion.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: And the stuff that we’re going to cover in this show, I think, really confirms that.

Sheila: Right. And it’s just the start of a new year too, so.

Sarah: And the first thing we’re going to kick off this week talking about, is location data. As we know, the pro-choice side has been concerned, since the overturn of Roe, about the use of fertility apps and location data being used to prosecute women for obtaining abortions- legitimate or not, that’s their concerns.

Sheila: Yeah, they continue on with the, ‘oh, the sky is falling.’

Sarah: Yeah, ‘chicken little, chicken little.’ So, after the overturn of Roe, the Biden administration released an executive order directing the government to strengthen privacy protections related to reproductive health care services. After that, the FTC started going toe to toe with some companies over location data.

Sheila: Right, and the FTC is the Federal Trade Commission, for people that don’t know.

Sarah: Thank you very much. And this week, the FTC reached a settlement with a company called Outlogic, which is a location data broker. Yep, that’s a thing. Who collected location data on people who visited certain medical facilities and then went to pharmacies or specialty centers after that. The data was collected via over a hundred mobile apps. That’s a lot of apps.

Sheila: Oh, yeah.

Sarah: So Outlogic shared its information with a clinical research company for marketing and advertising. Shocker. (sarcasm) While the company didn’t share any data related to abortion clinics, the FTC said Outlogic’s sales were still a significant privacy violation. So their settlement with Outlogic requires Outlogic to delete all the data it previously collected without consent and provide a clear way for people to opt out of the company’s location data collection in the future.

Also, the FTC has an ongoing case against the data broker Kochava, which the FTC alleged sold location data that allowed buyers to identify and track people who visited women’s reproductive health clinics.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

 Sarah: All this in short to say that location data is going to become a more and more sensitive issue. It’s not just relating to privacy, but relating to the abortion issue.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: And I think pro-choicers may be surprised that there’s a lot of people on the pro-life side who, I’m willing to bet, are for strong protections of privacy and against the sharing of location data.

Sheila: Mm hmm. And that’s more of a conservative view.

Sarah: Yeah.

Sheila: But what is interesting is that a lot of liberals don’t really see this or say that it’s an issue until it comes up with the abortion issue.

Sarah: Yeah. Now that abortion comes into the mix it’s, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa. We’ve got to protect location data.’ Privacy is a big thing that we’re really going to have to deal with in the coming years. Because, not to sound like a conspiracy theorist or anything, but it is scary the amount of data that some companies collect – even your car, the data that these newer cars are collecting.

Sheila: Oh, well, we were talking about this the other night, and I said, you don’t have privacy anymore.

Sarah: Yeah.

Sheila: Literally your every step is being recorded. But like I said, this hasn’t been an issue for the liberals until abortion is brought up with it.

Sarah: Well, the bigger thing is that there’s a big thing in law about what does privacy mean? What does privacy entail? And how much privacy are you really entitled to?

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: And until these lines are more clearly defined, you’re gonna see stuff like this continually popping up.

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: Speaking of things popping up and crossing lines, the battle between the states and the federal government over abortion has taken an interesting turn. So there’s a battle brewing over the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, also known as EMTALA. So if you don’t know what this is, in short, it was an act put into law in the late 80s to ensure that everybody has access to emergency services regardless of their ability to pay.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: So if you go into a hospital, they’re required to check you out, see what’s going on and stabilize you if you have emergency medical condition – regardless of your ability to pay.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: After the overturn of Roe, the HHS, Department of Health and Human Services…

Sheila: …which we know is radically pro-abortion…

Sarah: …especially If you look at who they appointed as their head. And we have a episode dedicated just to that, we can put the link in the description if you want to go listen to that. But the Department of Health and Human Services issued a guidance document to, “remind hospitals of their existing obligation to comply with EMTALA,” specifically in situations where they argue that abortion services would be used as stabilizing care for pregnant women in medical emergency situations.

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: The guidance went so far as to state, “when a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the life and health of the pregnant person — or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA’s emergency medical condition definition — that state law is preempted.”

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: In other words, the HHS is trying to use the Emergency Medical Care Act to to override state’s abortion laws.

Sheila: Right. And I mean, as we’ve seen in the past, they can use these exceptions in a broad light. They can say, ‘oh, this is an exception for the mother’s health, or this is an exception in the mother’s health.’ It’s a broad definition that they can try to use to try to enforce abortion.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Sheila: And this is just the federal government’s new tactic to just go past the state restriction laws and to just make it, basically, federal law.

Sarah: So this is popping up in the national news because, as a result of this, it’s prompted two lawsuits. One filed by the state of Texas challenging this guidance as outside of their authority and another filed by the U. S. Department of Justice against the state of Idaho arguing that EMTALA preempts the states of restrictive abortion law. And I’m just going to break it down as simple as I can for the two cases.

In the Texas case, Texas and two provider organizations filed suit against HHS asking the court to invalidate the guidance because EMTALA did not authorize the federal government to compel health care providers to perform abortions. Both the lower court and the 5th Circuit of Appeals sided with Texas.

The courts argued that one, the guidance exceeded HHS’s statutory authority, and two, that HHS was required to make the policy known through notice and rulemaking – but did not do that. Specifically, the 5th Circuit stated that the EMTALA statute does not explicitly address the question of whether abortion can ever be required as a form of stabilizing care under EMTALA’s obligations; and that the scope of stabilizing care required to be provided under EMTALA has to align with what’s allowed under the state’s laws.

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: And that’s where it sits right now with the Texas case.

Sheila: Right. I mean, because you do have some states that say abortion is restricted except for exceptions of rape and/or the life of the mother.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s actually a really common exception that you see put into a lot of states’ laws. In the Idaho case, in August 2022, the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho over their abortion law, which criminalized abortion except in the cases where abortion was necessary to, “prevent the death of the pregnant woman” – and in cases of rape or incest. The Biden administration argues that the law was in conflict and therefore null because of EMTALA and the HHS guidance.

The lower court agreed with the Biden administration and prevented the state from enforcing their abortion laws “to the extent that the statute conflicts with EMTALA mandated care.” Idaho’s appeal of the injunction on their state’s abortion law has worked its way up to the Supreme Court.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: The Supreme Court has announced that they have granted Idaho’s request to lift the injunction on the state’s abortion law and agree to take on the case. Oral arguments are going to start in late April of this year with a decision somewhere around the summer.

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: So the Supreme Court is going to weigh on this issue of emergency medical care, and that’s going to have implications for the Texas case and all the other states.

Sheila: And this is going to have a big impact.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Sheila: What the Biden administration is trying to do, again, is to basically use exceptions and emergency health care ” for the mother” to basically strong arm abortion in the States.

Sarah: Yeah. One thing you got to give the Biden administration is that whenever they’ve been knocked back, because they’ve had several strategies up to this point, and whenever one gets knocked back, they quickly pivot and they’re on to a new strategy.

Sheila: They saw that this was an important issue that the Supreme Court probably would have taken up, and that this was probably their closest thing, legality wise, in order to force states to have abortion.

Sarah: You know, we’ve had the conversation of the motivation behind the Supreme Court – what cases they take up relating to abortion and why they decided to send it back to the states, as opposed to respecting the right to life of the unborn…

Sheila: …and declaring them persons…

Sarah: …and declaring them persons – what legal strategy they went with. And the Supreme Court has been real picky about cases related to abortion that they have chose to hear arguments for and weigh in on. And I think with sending the battle back to the states, I think it’s forced them into a position where they’re going to have to take more cases relating to reproductive issues and abortion…

Sheila: …in the response of overturning Roe versus Wade.

Sarah: Yeah.

Sheila: But again, they keep on tiptoeing around the issue of personhood. EMTALA is one of those issues that tiptoes around it.

Sarah: Absolutely. Speaking of Texas…

Sheila: …this is a case out of Fort Worth, where a 17-year-old pleaded true, which is basically the juvenile equivalent of pleading guilty, to capital murder charge of killing her baby just after giving birth to her.

Sarah: In 2021.

Sheila: Yes. Her lawyer defended her saying that her strict upbringing and the Texas abortion restrictions for minors contributed to her wanting to hide her pregnancy and making plans to kill her baby. And I just want to give everybody a reminder before we continue on, that the reason her lawyer brought up restrictions for abortion for minors is because this was before Texas brought on the latest abortion restrictions. So it was basically just about the issue of minors and abortions. So in September of 2021, she gave birth on the toilet…

Sarah: …allegedly.

Sheila: Yes, and says that the baby may have hit her head. However, Injuries that led to the death of the baby girl include cuts and bruises to the face and head; and the teen’s sister had called 9 1 1 and the teen could be heard in the background yelling, “I don’t want it!”

Sarah: Not just that, but hospital staff who treated the baby or who was in charge of caring for the baby believed that the injuries were inconsistent with what they had been told.

Sheila: Right. And police detective Christopher Parker, told the court that messages between the teen and her boyfriend, who is another teen that lived down the street, included talk about miscarriage and trying to punch her in the stomach to miscarry, and their agreements of having to kill the baby because they didn’t want their parents finding out.

Sarah: Yeah, in one of the messages he said, “We gonna have to kill it, as much as I hate to say it.”

Sheila: So during the wait period between this latest court hearing and the murder, the female delivered another child with a different father. Defense attorney, Lisa Herrick, so her defense attorney asked, “what would the benefit of prison be?” Saying that the teen has now received sex education and is on birth control.

Sarah: I understand that this teen was in a situation where she was scared. But, that doesn’t negate the fact that she killed her infant child.

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: And all the other evidence leads you to believe that she did deliberately, intentionally kill her child.

Sheila: And the defense attorney asking, “What would the benefit of prison be?” Well, it’s not about the benefit to the individual. It’s about the fact that a crime has been committed and she needs to be accountable for it.

Sarah: Yeah. This case is obviously tragic for all parties concerned. But it brings up something that we have talked about and we have seen with the abortion issue – in that abortion has led to this culture where children have become sort of a commodity, right?

Sheila: Mm hmm. Exactly.

Sarah: And if we don’t want it, then our wants, our needs trump everything else – and we can get rid of it, right?

Sheila: And trump the life of the baby.

Sarah: And let’s be honest, in some states if that girl had had an abortion just two hours before she gave birth, that would have been completely legal. Right?

Sheila: Mm hmm. Again, because it’s about the commodity of the child. Speaking of which, during a speech that Pope Francis gave, the annual speech listing threats to global peace and human dignity, he called surrogacy a despicable practice and commercialization of pregnancy.

He wants a universal ban of surrogate motherhood. He stated, “I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs. A child is a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.”

Sarah: With surrogacy becoming more and more common and IVF becoming more common, you’re seeing this discussion come up more than it used to be.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: And it’s controversial. And I can see both sides to this issue. I can see how a woman who has the ability to conceive and give birth, helping out a couple who cannot. I mean, I can completely see that. But I can also see the other side of the argument, where they’re saying, ‘well this commercializes babies. It turns them from a gift into a commodity.’ And I can also see how surrogacy would be used to prey on poor women in order to, basically, treat them almost like a uterus for hire.

Sheila: Right. Well, that’s what it is. I mean, commercial surrogacy contracts are becoming more and more popular here in the United States. But what’s interesting, is that it is banned in certain parts of Europe right now – including Spain and Italy…

Sarah: … specifically because of how it can be used to prey upon poor women.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: And then you also have this issue of what happens if something comes up in the parent’s situation or in the development of the child and it’s revealed the child has a disability – and the parents want the surrogate mother to have an abortion, and either abortion is against her wishes, or she doesn’t want to. Or what happens when they decide that they just simply don’t want the child?

Sheila: Right. And we’ve seen cases like that in the past.

Sarah: Yeah.

Sheila: And so again, surrogacy, like Pope Francis says, has become an issue of commercialization of children and treating them like a commodity.

Sarah: Well, I think the – the even bigger underlying thing about this, which a lot of people don’t think about, is because of IVF. Like, surrogacy is normally done via IVF. And the way IVF is done, there’s two different ways you can do it, but generally the way that most people do it is you fertilize a whole bunch of eggs. You have a whole bunch of embryos, and then some get implanted and the rest are destroyed. Which means you have lives – biologically, technically – there are lives that have been created that are then discarded and trashed when they’re no longer needed.

Sheila: Right. And with IVF becoming more and more popular, that’s becoming a bigger issue.

Sarah: Yeah. And so, we have an episode all about that that we’ll put the link in the description. It’s episode 85, go listen to that and really learn about IVF and its ties to surrogacy, and see what you think about the issue.

Sheila: Right. And so, this week’s From the Mouth of Mark talks about the commercialization and how children are treated as a commodity. So this is from a blog post that he did, that was March 1st, 2007 – so this issue goes way back. And this is what he wrote about it.

He said, “the underlying problem is, legal abortion transformed babies for being full and valued members of the human family into a commodity that we can choose or unchoose just like we choose or unchoose what brand of toothpaste to buy. Until we correct that, things far worse than prefab embryos and deformer babies are on the way. It may be frightening to contemplate, but we are not even close to the bottom of the slippery slope.”

And it is a slippery slope. And I want to just say one thing about this quote, when he says “deformer babies,” I just want to put into context what deformer babies are. Because he wasn’t saying that babies are deformed, but…

Sarah: …no, this is an actual term. And it came around a debate about, basically, engineering a baby to be exactly the way you want it – even down to creating disabilities. And the specific case that he was using, I think, in this article, was talking about taking a baby who is not deaf and making it deaf.

Sheila: Right.

Sarah: Which is what they coined “deformer babies.”

Sheila: Mm hmm. Again, this was, he posted this in 2007, so way back now. And it was a slippery slope back then, and you’re seeing more and more issues pop up because of it.

Sarah: As we treat babies as a commodity, just like maybe a pair of shoes, yeah you think about customization and making it the way you want it, right? And Abortion plays into that. You don’t want a child with disabilities – well just have it aborted and try again.

Sheila: Mm hmm. Or manipulate the baby so you’re playing god.

Sarah: And that’s exactly what bioethicists have basically argued. If this child… If you don’t connect with it, or if it’s not up to…

Sheila: …standards….

Sarah: …society’s standards, or if it’s lacking, well, then you should have a period of time where you could have the child killed, even after birth, right?

Sheila: Right. And that’s what abortion has done for society.

Sarah: Yep. This reminds me of something I saw on Instagram the other day. There was a comment on a post about some of our stuff, and this person wrote, “the abortion industry is the devil’s corporate branch.”

Sheila: Mm hmm.

Sarah: And I thought that was absolutely perfect.

Sheila: Mm hmm. Which is why we keep on fighting. And so until next time, Life Dynamics is not here to put up a good fight.

Sarah: We’re here to win.

Sheila:  Because winning is how the killing stops.

Sarah: Thank you guys. We’ll see you in the next episode.

[End]

Web player not showing? Click here.
In This Episode We Discuss:
  • Greetings (00:24)
  • The battle over location data heats up! (01:17)
  • ETMLA vs State Abortion Law Battle Begins (04:39)
  • Texas Teen Charged With Capital Murder Of Her Baby (11:09)
  • Pope Calls For Ban on Surrogacy (14:39)
  • From The Mouth of Mark (17:57)
  • Final Thoughts (19:21)
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