Life Advocacy Briefing

March 24, 2008

Blessed Easter / Appeals for Conscience / Get Behind Pence Amendment
/ Get the Picture? / Tiller Feted at Radical Feminist Conference /
State Dept. Eases Pressure on Beijing / Weighing Maternal Risk
Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally

Blessed Easter

WE AT LIFE ADVOCACY WISH ALL OUR READERS a blessed season of celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord.


Appeals for Conscience

THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS & GYNECOLOGISTS was hit with a barrage of petitions when ACOG’s Ethics Committee met last week in Washington, DC.

Letters from 16 Members of Congress (led by Georgia GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey MD), from the Catholic Medical Assn. and from the Christian Medical Assn., co-signed by various pro-life/family organization leaders, all appealed to the ACOG panel to better define or better yet rescind its controversial November statement directing obstetricians and gynecologists to commit or refer for abortions and even to relocate their practices to be more conveniently close to abortionists.

ACOG’s new “ethics” statement actually ridiculed the concept of long-established ethical principles and belittled the deep convictions under which pro-life doctors seek to serve patients, “denigrat[ing],” in the words of the co-signed Christian Medical Assn. letter, “the objective sources of conviction … such as the Hippocratic Oath, which for centuries provided a foundation for medical ethics until abortion advocacy censored its teachings.”

In addition to the excellently argued letters directed to ACOG itself, the professional group received a copy of a sobering letter from Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt directed to the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology asking ABOG to reject the ACOG policy. ABOG is the certification agency which rules on the professional qualifications of every obstetrician and gynecologist. On ABOG certification depends a doctor’s reputation and hospital admitting privileges.

Decertification of doctors who would otherwise be certified but for their refusal to comply with the ACOG abortion mandate “could result in certain HHS-funded state and local governments, or other institutions that require Board certification taking action against the physician,” noted Secretary Leavitt in his letter, “just on the Board’s denial or revocation of certification. In particular,” Secretary Leavitt warned, “I am concerned that such actions by these entities would violate federal [conscience protection] laws against discrimination.”

The Secretary noted that “Congress has protected the rights of physicians and other health care professionals by passing two non-discrimination laws and annually renewing an appropriations rider that protect the rights, including conscience rights, of health care professionals in programs or facilities conducted or supported by federal funds.”


Get Behind Pence Amendment

WHILE THE U.S. CONGRESS IS ON BREAK until April 1, we urge our readers to seek opportunities to find their Representative in the home district to urge House Members to support the right to life and specifically to defund Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has announced he will propose again his amendment to bar abortion-committing and/or -promoting organizations from funding under the federal government’s Title X (Ten) “family planning” program. His amendment will be offered during House consideration this summer of the annual appropriation for the Dept. of Health & Human Services.

Members should be asked not only to vote for the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood but also to announce support for it and to assist Rep. Pence in garnering the necessary plurality vote.

Rep. Pence first offered the amendment last July, when it fell short 189 to 231. That was before Planned Parenthood was caught taking donations for the express purpose of aborting black babies, and before the surfacing of a lawsuit brought by a former California PP financial officer charging PP with systematic cheating of the state and federal governments.


Get the Picture?

SOUTH DAKOTA HAS A NEW PRO-LIFE LAW requiring abortionists to offer sonograms to customers.

SB-88 passed both houses of the legislature and was signed March 13 by Gov. Mike Rounds (R). Mothers seeking abortions are not required to view the sonograms, but abortionists are required to report to the State annually the number of customers offered the opportunity to view the sonographic pictures of their babies, the number of those actually shown the sonograms and the percentage who opt for abortion.


Tiller Feted at Radical Feminist Conference

NOTORIOUS ABORTIONIST GEORGE TILLER WAS HAILED at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference, held March 9 at the National Education Assn. (NEA), according to a report by John-Henry Westen.

An unauthorized video of the Wichita late-term abortion specialist’s speech to the radical group was taped by Students for Life of America (SFLA), which released the video last Wednesday and whose executive director Kristan Hawkins, writes Mr. Westen, reported the audience “gave Dr. Tiller’s presentation a standing ovation.” (At the time of this writing, the video could be viewed on the Internet at the following “address”:

During his speech, Mr. Tiller “admitt[ed] to aborting babies a day before the mother’s due date … [and] showcase[ed] massive and graphic pictures of children with fetal abnormalities that he had aborted,” writes Mr. Westen, “so as to make the case for late-term abortions as [a] necessary medical procedure. … ‘Pro-lifers are regularly condemned,’” said Ms. Hawkins in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘for displaying pictures of aborted babies, but here the pro-abortion crowd and the NEA are more than happy to showcase these graphic images.’”

One of the babies shown by Mr. Tiller had an extra arm, noted Ms. Hawkins. “‘Could not that child have survived and received corrective surgery?’” she asked in the Westen story. “‘Was violently killing the child the only way to go?’”


State Dept. Eases Pressure on Beijing

THE U.S. STATE DEPT. HAS BACKED DOWN on calling Red China to task over its outrageous violations of human rights.

“Although the main body of the new [State Dept. human rights] report covered numerous rights abuses in China and said its ‘human rights record remained poor,’” reports Patrick Goodenough for Cybercast News Service (, Red “China was excluded from a section in the report’s introduction that names particularly egregious violators. Instead, China was placed in another category,” CNSNews reports, of “authoritarian countries that have experienced rapid social change but haven’t undertaken democratic reforms and continue to deny their citizens basic human rights.”

The State Department’s softening of the US stance on Red China “raised eyebrows,” writes Mr. Goodenough, “at a time when human rights advocates have been stepping up their scrutiny of China in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympic Games. …

“‘Washington’s decision occurs at the worst possible time,’” said press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, quoted by Mr. Goodenough, “‘just when the situation is worsening prior to the opening of the Olympic Games. … This move is seen as a major setback for human rights organizations, who have been striving especially hard in these last five months before the Games to improve the status of human rights in China.’”

Recent reported Chinese human rights abuses have included “detention of a top human rights lawyer,” notes Mr. Goodenough, “and the arrest of scores of Tibetan monks demonstrating to mark the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese occupation. Several pro-democracy activists who have linked calls for more freedom to the Olympics have been incarcerated,” he writes.

“Also reported has been a crackdown on citizens who travel to Beijing,” writes Mr. Goodenough, “to petition the government as permitted by law but are allegedly being intercepted, detained and punished. And a new report has highlighted hardships faced by Chinese migrant workers employed in pre-Olympics construction projects in Beijing.”

Other reports have indicated Chinese prisoners of faith and conscience are being forced to hand-manufacture Olympics-related souvenirs and promotional items. And on-again-off-again reports of Beijing’s softening its lethal one-child depopulation pogrom have proven premature.

Beijing’s minister of the State Population & Family Planning Commission said in an  interview published March 10 that the one-child policy “will not change substantially over the next decade,” writes Tania Branigan in Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Zhang Weiqing, reports Ms. Branigan, “said altering course now would cause more problems than it would solve … .” Recent statements by other officials have hinted at internal debates in government circles, but the new report from the US State Dept. is easing the pressure to reform.


Weighing Maternal Risk

BRITAIN’s ROYAL COLLEGE OF PSYCHIATRISTS HAS WARNED “women may be at risk of mental health breakdowns if they have abortions,” reports Sarah-Kate Templeton, health editor of London’s SundayTimes.

The psychiatrists’ organization “says women should not be allowed to have an abortion,” she writes, “until they are counseled on the possible risk to their mental health, … overturn[ing] the consensus that has stood for decades that the risk to mental health of continuing with an unwanted pregnancy outweighs the risks of living with the possible regrets of having an abortion.”

The organization “recommends updating abortion information leaflets,” writes Ms. Templeton, “to include details of the risks of depression. ‘Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information,’” the group added, as reported in the Sunday Times.

“‘How can a doctor now justify an abortion [on mental health grounds],’” asked Dr. Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, quoted by Ms. Templeton, “‘if psychiatrists are now questioning whether there is any clear evidence that continuing with the pregnancy leads to mental health problems.’ … More than 90% of the 200,000 terminations in Britain every year,” notes Ms. Templeton, “are believed to be carried out because doctors believe that continuing with the pregnancy would cause greater mental strain.”


Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally

Transcripts of Congressional speakers, March for Life in Washington, DC, Jan. 22, 2008, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing from televised coverage

Rep. Steve King (R-IA): Thank you, thank all of you for coming out here today. There are people as far as I can see from up here. God bless you for this effort for America. God bless you for this effort for Life.

I would like to make two points, and as – especially to the young people who are here that pour into this city every year. When you look over at the person next to you, and if you’re 35 years old or younger and you see someone of your age or younger, remember that in between you stands the ghost of a missing generation. About a third of your generation is gone, lost in the holocaust of abortion, those lives that weren’t respected. And the things that you need to know as you shape the minds and the beliefs and the faith and the philosophy of your generation and the next generations that you will inspire as they come up, the answers to two questions. The first question is, Is human life sacred in all of its forms? [yes!] And we all answer, “Yes!” [cheers] And the next question that you ask is, And then at what instant does life begin? [conception!] Conception! Everybody here knows the questions, everybody here knows the answer. Human life is sacred in all of its forms. Life begins at the instant of conception. If you have that faith, if you have that knowledge, you will never lose the debate, you will never lose the argument, you will never lose your conviction, and that argument can continue to spread across this land.

Now we’re gathered here today in masses of people as far as the eye can see, because the Supreme Court injected themselves into a decision that they had no business deciding in the first place. [cheers] When the legislatures in this land according to the Constitution make a decision, the people abide by it or they set about changing it. When the courts make the decision, they’re insulated from that. And so that’s why we are here today.

And I want to reinforce that President Bush made two great appointments to the Supreme Court [cheers], Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, two great appointments to the Supreme Court [cheers]. The next President will likely make another two appointments to the Supreme Court, at least as important. And if he gets it right, we will be back here on this Mall to celebrate the end of Roe versus Wade [cheers]. And it will be a joyous annual celebration. As far as the eye can see, people pouring into this city, back as far as the Lincoln Memorial and backed up to the bridge to Arlington Cemetery, will be celebrants for the victory of life over death, the victory of the people and the Lord our God over an activist court. God bless you.

Thank you for coming here. I look forward to the joy of the day when we come here to celebrate the end of Roe versus Wade. Thank you. [cheers]

Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ): A warm welcome to everybody here from New Jersey. [cheers] I saw a lot of you out there. And a special welcome to my friends from Notre Dame; I saw my Irish over there [cheers]. And my friends from Franciscan University in Steubenville, there in the back [cheers].

Two nights ago – all right, pipe down, Steubenville [laughter] – two nights ago was the coldest and darkest night of the winter here in Washington. My wife Maureen and I and our children were at a conference center not far from here at Catholic University with a group of young people from around the country. These were college students at the annual meeting of the Students for Life of America. Their faith and their hope in the future of this country lit up that dark night. And their energy and their determination for the cause of Life brought warmth to our hearts, a warmth which I am convinced will surely and steadily change and improve and heal our society and our country.

You know there are many challenges to the dignity and the value of human life in our world today, challenges which threaten the most vulnerable in our society from the very youngest to the oldest to the elderly to the infirmed to the disabled. I believe some of our greatest challenges lie ahead of us, but so do some of our greatest victories.

And those victories, those warmer and brighter days, will be made possible not just by the work of those who have already spent years in this cause but by the love and the passion and the hard work of the young people, the young people all across our country, represented by the enormous numbers of young people here today at this march.

I want to speak very directly, very directly to every young person here today and every one of you listening around the country. Search your heart to determine what you can bring to this movement. How can you lend your talents and your intelligence and your energy to this cause, the greatest human rights cause of our time?  And to all of our young people, take your bright and warm and smiling, shining faces and your energy and your love and your compassion, and change – bring change – to this sometimes cold and sometimes dark world. Fill it with your light and your hope and your warmth, and you can and you will bring America back to life. Thank you and God bless you. [cheers] 

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