Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of April 2, 2007

Embryo Killing Bill to Move Forward / Hold onto ‘Hyde’ /
/ It’s Back – The E.R.A. Reintroduced / Back to Business /
/ NRL Letter on the ERA-Abortion Connection /
Sponsors of the Pro-Abortion ERA Resolutions

Embryo Killing Bill to Move Forward

SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE AGREED TO ALLOW DEBATE AND A VOTE on S-5, the Senate version of legislation which has already passed the House to gut the President’s limitation on federal payments to scientists killing embryonic humans for experimentation. The legislation will see ten hours of debate on Tuesday, April 10, when the Senate returns from Easter recess.

Disappointed, we report that the deal to bring the bill forward allows for no amendments, so there will be no chance to slow the measure down or to better it with, say, an amendment to prohibit human cloning.

The same sort of deal was executed last week for the Humane Society’s extreme measure to establish a federal crime of transporting animals across state lines for fighting exhibitions. This is the silly bill which Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) attempted to amend in House committee to add the provisions of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would criminalize transportation of a minor across state lines for an abortion evading her home-state’s parental involvement law. The Senate passed the cock-fighting bill by unanimous consent last week; as with the deal for the Nazi science bill, a lost opportunity.

Hold Onto ‘Hyde’

THE ANNUAL SPENDING BILL FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’s WELFARE PROGRAMS has not yet appeared in Congress, but Congressional liberals are already laying plans to force taxpayers to underwrite the abortion industry in the appropriation for Medicaid.

For some 30 years, the taxpayers – and unborn children and their indigent moms – have been protected from federal abortion subsidies under the Medicaid limitation first advanced by then-Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), for whom the treasured reform is named.

But Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has let it be known she is planning to use her position on the House Committee on Appropriations to impose abortion funding in the spending bill for the Dept. of Health & Human Services.

Some House Democrats appear skittish about taking on such an overt slap at mainstream Americans, according to a Congressional Quarterly Today story by staff writer Alex Wayne. Some of their new Members, after all, won their seats by persuading voters they were actually conservative on issues such as abortion. Consequently, now would be a fine time to make some calls to Capitol Hill (1-202/224-3121) and ask House Members to resist any attempt to drop the Hyde Amendment.

It’s Back – The E.R.A. Reintroduced

LIBERALS IN HOUSE & SENATE HAVE FILED ANEW the hoary old Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution, which died in 1982, having failed to win ratification from the needed three-fourths of the states’ legislatures. The amendment, identified as SJRes-10 and HJRes-40, needs a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, under the Constitution, to be submitted for a new round in the states. Both joint resolutions have been assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the respective houses.

Among the many troubling effects which adopting such an amendment would precipitate is the enshrining in the Constitution of a right to abortion, a charge made by Stop-ERA leader Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum, back in the early ’70s. Her warning has since been confirmed by courts forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortion in states whose constitutions hold identical language to the ERA.

Sponsors of the ERA proposal are Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with 19 others, in the Senate and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), along with 189 others, in the House.

We publish the names of the sponsors at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, where you’ll also find an ERA warning letter from National Right to Life’s Douglas Johnson to the Members of the House. Please note: Mr. Johnson advocates a theoretical amendment which could make the proposal abortion-neutral as the only remedy to remove opposition by pro-life groups and citizens; we will not hold out hope for such an amendment, given the instigation of this proposal by radical feminists and their colleagues in the radical homosexual lobby who are wedded to the locking of abortion and other forms of sexual license in the fabric of both American society and US law.

Back to Business

METROPOLITAN MEDICAL ASSOC. REOPENED March 23 in Englewood, New Jersey, with health officials on hand to give the late-term abortuary the state’s stamp of approval. It was closed a month earlier after a young aborted mother awoke from a coma resulting from unsafe practices at the mill.

Pro-life demonstrators were also on hand, calling the reopening of the abortion mill “‘an outrage,’” writes Mary Jo Layton in the Bergen Record, quoting New Jersey Right to Life’s Marie Tasy.

And Expectant Mother Care was on hand, parking a 32-foot-longmobile pregnancy clinic across the street to offer the abortuary’s potential customers a caring alternative to abortion.

The mobile pregnancy clinic saved a 24-week gestating baby on the very day the abortuary re-opened, according to Associated Press (AP) writer Jeffrey Gold. A 16-year-old expectant mother decided not to enter the abortuary after viewing an ultrasound image of her baby. “[She] decided to keep the baby,” writes Mr. Gold, “after she was told by an ultrasound technician that she was 24 weeks pregnant and was told by activists that other women had been injured at the clinic, … [which] reopened Friday after being closed last month by state health authorities for ‘immediate and serious’ health code violations. ‘I didn’t think I was that far along,’ she said,” quoted by Mr. Gold. “‘That changed my whole opinion.’”

Expectant Mother Care’s leader Chris Slattery told AP he plans to bring his mobile ultrasound clinic to the Englewood location every Thursday, now that the notorious Metropolitan abortuary has reopened.

Priests for Life founder Fr. Frank Pavone weighed in on the reopening of the business, calling it “a big mistake. The fact that years went by without proper inspections of this clinic is not only a bad reflection on the Dept. of Health in New Jersey,” he said in a Priests for Life news release. “It is an accurate reflection of a run-away, unregulated abortion industry nationwide.

“Women will continue to be injured in this facility,” declared Fr. Pavone:, as they are every day in abortion clinics across the country. Making abortion legal has not made it safe,” he said, “and it never will.” 

NRL Letter on the ERA-Abortion Connection

Dated March 28, 2007, circulated to US Representatives and released publicly by National Right to Life

For the reasons explained below, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) urges you not to co-sponsor or otherwise support HJRes-40, sponsored by Congresswoman Maloney, unless it is amended in the fashion described below.

HJRes-40 proposes a federal constitutional amendment that is now apparently referred to by some as the “Women’s Equality Amendment” but which has long been known as the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA). According to the Washington Post (March 28), “House and Senate Democrats … vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers before the end of the session.”

HJRes-40 would add to the Constitution the following amendment: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” Congress proposed the same language to the states in 1972, with a seven-year ratification deadline [later extended three-plus more years].

The ERA-Abortion Connection

Leading pro-abortion groups – including NARAL, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood – have strongly urged state courts to construe state ERAs to require tax-funded abortion on demand, and state ERAs have been so construed in New Mexico and Connecticut.

The proposed federal amendment is very similar to the language of the ERA which New Mexico added to its state constitution in 1973, which says, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.” On Nov. 25, 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that such language prohibits the state from restricting abortion differently from “medically necessary procedures” sought by men, and the court ordered the state to pay for elective abortions under the state’s Medicaid program. (NM Right to Choose / NARAL v. Johnson, # 1999-NMSC-005) (You can read the ruling and related documents on the ERA page of the NRLC website at

In its ruling, the court adopted the construction of the ERA urged in the case by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League, the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy, and the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund. The doctrine that the ERA language invalidates limitations on tax-funded abortion was also supported in briefs filed by the state Women’s Bar Assn., Public Health Assn., and League of Women Voters.

These briefs, and a court’s agreement with their argument, should not come as any surprise to knowledgeable observers. During the 1970s and 1980s, many pro-ERA advocates insisted that there was “no connection” between ERAs and abortion, but NRLC warned otherwise [as did Eagle Forum]. As we predicted, pro-abortion advocacy groups have increasingly employed the ERA-abortion argument in state courts, and in New Mexico we saw the devastating result of enacting an ERA that does not include explicit abortion-neutral language.

Once a court adopts the legal doctrine that a law targeting abortion is by definition a form of discrimination based on sex, and therefore impermissible under an ERA, the same doctrine would invalidate virtually any limitation on abortion. For example, under this doctrine, the proposed federal ERA would invalidate the federal Hyde Amendment and all state restrictions on tax-funded abortions. Likewise, it would nullify any federal or state restrictions even on partial-birth abortions or third-trimester abortions (since these are sought only by women). Also vulnerable would be federal and state “conscience laws,” which allow government-supported medical facilities and personnel – including religiously affiliated hospitals – to refuse to participate in abortions. Moreover, the ACLU’s “Reproductive Freedom Project” published a booklet that encourages pro-abortion litigators to use state ERAs as legal weapons against state parental notification and parental consent laws.

The Remedy: An Abortion-Neutral Amendment

All of the pernicious results outlined above could be avoided if the following “abortion-neutral amendment” – originally proposed by Congressman Sensenbrenner in 1983 – is added: “Nothing in this Article [the ERA] shall be construed to grant, secure or deny any right relating to abortion or the funding thereof.” This proposed revision would not change the current legal status of abortion nor would it permit the ERA itself to be employed for anti-abortion purposes. Rather, the revision would simply make the ERA itself neutral regarding abortion policy. NRLC would withdraw its opposition to the proposed federal ERA if this abortion-neutral amendment was added.

The Theory that the Original 1972 ERA is Still Alive before the States (“Three-State Strategy”)

Curiously, at the same time they are urging Congress to approve a new federal ERA, many ERA proponents insist that the ERA which Congress approved in 1972 is still eligible for ratification by state legislative bodies.

They also insist that only three more ratifications are needed to make the 1972 resolution part of the Constitution. The legal reasoning behind this “three-state strategy,” originally set forth in 1994, is quite unpersuasive – so much so that not a single state legislature has passed a ratification resolution in the 13 years since the theory was concocted. The most recent such attempt, just last month, was voted down in a committee of the Arkansas House after 20 House members withdrew their co-sponsorships. Details on the recent events in Arkansas and other information on the “three-state strategy” are available on the NRLC website at

It appears that the architects of HJRes-40 must be doubtful about the claims that the 1972 ERA is still alive before the state legislatures. After all, it would not make much sense for Congress to send to the states a proposed constitutional amendment, beginning the entire ratification process from square-one, if the identical language really is still pending before the state legislatures. Additional information on the status of the 1972 ERA and on the last vote that occurred in Congress on an ERA (in 1983), appears below our signatures in this letter.


In summary: If HJRes-40 is brought to the House floor, NRLC will urge adoption of the remedial abortion-neutral amendment. If the amendment is not adopted, NRLC will oppose passage of HJRes-40 and will include the roll call on passage in its scorecard of key pro-life roll calls of the 110th Congress. Thank you for your consideration of NRLC’s position on this important issue.

Signed Sincerely, Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, & Susan Muskett JD, Congressional Liaison

Additional Information on the 1972 ERA

The 1972 ERA was ratified by 35 legislatures before the seven-year ratification deadline expired. (Of these 26 explicitly referred to the deadline in their resolutions of ratification.) However, five of these 35 states withdrew their ratifications before the deadline arrived. The only federal court to consider the issue ruled that these rescissions were valid.

In 1978, Congress passed a controversial bill, by majority vote, that purported to extend the ratification deadline for 39 months. During this disputed “extension,” no new states ratified or rescinded. In 1981, a federal court ruled that the rescissions were valid and also ruled that the purported deadline extension was unconstitutional. In 1982, the Supreme Court declined to review this case, holding that the issue was moot because the ERA had failed ratification with or without the rescissions and with or without the purported extension. Documentation is posted on the NRLC website at

In 1983, the House majority (Democratic) leadership also recognized that the 1972 ERA was dead. They brought to the House floor, under suspension of the rules, a new resolution containing the same proposed constitutional amendment, again with a seven-year deadline – an effort that, if successful, would have begun the entire ratification process anew. However, the resolution was defeated on the floor of the House (278-147, Nov. 15, 1983). Among those voting “no” were 14 co-sponsors, most of whom were among the majority who wanted to add the abortion-neutral amendment. Neither house of Congress has voted on an ERA since that day.

Sponsors of the Pro-Abortion ERA Resolutions

Senate Joint Resolution 10: Democratic Senators – CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CT/Dodd & Biden, IA/Harkin, IL/Durbin, MD/Mikulski, MA/Kennedy & Kerry, MI/Levin & Stabenow, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NY/Clinton & Schumer, OH/Brown, RI/Whitehouse, WA/Cantwell & Murray, and WI/Feingold. And “Independent” Sen. Lieberman (CT).

House Joint Resolution 40: Democratic Representatives – AL/Davis; AZ/Grijalva & Pastor; AR/Berry & Snyder; CA/Baca, Becerra, Berman, Capps, Cardoza, Costa, Davis, Eshoo, Farr, Filner, Harman, Honda, Lantos, Lee, Lofgren, Matsui, McNerney, Millender-McDonald, George Miller, Napolitano, Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Solis, Stark, Tauscher, Thompson, Waters, Watson, Waxman & Woolsey; CO/DeGette, Perlmutter & Udall; CT/DeLauro; FL/Corrine Brown, Castor, Hastings, Klein, Meek, Wasserman-Schultz & Wexler; GA/Bishop, Johnson, Lewis & Scott; HI/Abercrombie & Hirono; IL/Bean, Costello, Davis, Emanuel, Gutierrez, Hare, Jackson, Rush &  Schakowsky; IN/Carson; IA/Boswell, Braley & Loebsack; KS/Moore; KY/Chandler; LA/Jefferson & Melancon; ME/Allen & Michaud; MD/Cummings, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, VanHollen & Wynn.

Also Democratic Representatives – MA/Capuano, Delahunt, Frank, Lynch, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Neal, Olver & Tierney; MI/Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Kilpatrick & Levin; MN/Ellison, McCollum, Peterson & Walz; MS/Taylor & Thompson; MO/Carnahan, Clay & Cleaver; NV/Berkley; NH/Shea-Porter; NJ/Andrews, Holt, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Rothman & Sires; NY/Ackerman, Arcuri, Bishop, Clarke, Crowley, Engel, Gillibrand, Hall, Higgins, Hinchey, Israel, Lowey, Maloney, McCarthy, McNulty, Meeks, Nadler, Rangel, Serrano, Slaughter, Towns, Velazquez & Weiner; NC/Butterfield, McIntyre, Miller, Price & Watt; OH/Jones, Kaptur, Kucinich & Sutton; OR/Blumenauer, DeFazio, Hooley & Wu; PA/Brady, Doyle, Fattah & Schwartz; RI/Kennedy & Langevin; SC/Clyburn & Spratt; SD/Herseth; TN/Cooper; TX/Cuellar, Doggett, Edwards, Gonzalez, Al Green, Gene Green, Hinojosa, Jackson-Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ortiz & Reyes; VA/Boucher & Moran; WA/Baird, Dicks, Inslee, McDermott & Smith; WV/Rahall; WI/Baldwin, Kind & Moore.

And Republican Representatives – CT/Shays; DE/Castle; IL/Biggert & Kirk; IA/Latham; MN/Ramstad; NJ/Frelinghuysen & LoBiondo; OH/Pryce; TX/Hall.


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