Life Advocacy Briefing

May 19, 2008

NARAL Backs Obama / Kudos to Mrs. Schlafly / Personhood Initiative Heads to Ballot
/ Setback for Planned Parenthood / PP Loses Round in Court / Take That! /
Adult Stem Cells Show Promise in MS Treatment / Huh? / Now’s the Time to Say ‘No’ to PP

N.A.R.A.L. Backs Obama

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL) HAS EARNED THE ENDORSEMENT of the National Abortion Rights Action League for his radical stand against any curb on commercialized abortion, topping even Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), whose backing of abortion early won her the nod from Emily’s List, which specializes in raising campaign funds for pro-abortion female candidates.


Kudos to Mrs. Schlafly

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ST. LOUIS CONFERRED an honorary doctorate in humane letters on pro-life champion Phyllis Schlafly last Friday amid a “shameful display of intolerance and discrimination,” writes Colleen Parro for Republican National Coalition for Life (RNC/Life), on the part of “radical pro-abortion feminists … threatening to disrupt the commencement exercises.”

Mrs. Schlafly is a key figure among America’s conservatives and the founder of the pro-family movement. She spearheaded the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution, which would have enshrined commercialized and subsidized abortion in the nation’s foundational law.

The St. Louis area leader earned a law degree 20-some years ago from Washington University, is an outstanding debater and fearless campus lecturer and writes in-depth commentaries continually on topics ranging from judicial supremacists to the current efforts to abridge national sovereignty via development of a tripartite North American Union styled on the European Union.

Mrs. Schlafly founded Republican National Coalition for Life in 1990 to monitor her party’s loyalty to the pro-life cause, to back candidates who are committed to restoring the right to life in American law and to preserve the pro-life plank in the Republican National Platform. She is a long-time supporter of Life Advocacy Resource Project, for which we are thankful.


Personhood Initiative Heads to Ballot

AN INITIATIVE CAMPAIGN INSTIGATED BY 20-YEAR-OLD Kristi Burton has gathered well more than enough signatures to put a “personhood” constitutional amendment on the Colorado ballot this November.

Defining personhood as “any human being from the moment of fertilization,” the constitutional amendment proposal drew 131,245 signatures when filed last week with the Colorado Secretary of State. The signature threshold to qualify for the ballot: 76,000. “The state,” writes Denver Post reporter Electa Draper, “has 30 days to validate the signatures.”

Miss Burton drew up the proposal and founded Colorado for Equal Rights in mid-2007 to attract more than 1,100 volunteers and 500 churches into the petition drive, reports Ms. Draper.

“‘Come November,’” said Mark Hotaling, executive director of the state’s Christian Family Alliance, quoted by Ms. Draper, “‘Colorado is going to be ground zero for the issue of Life in America.’ …

“‘The main thing the constitution is supposed to do is to protect us,’ the 20-year-old [Miss] Burton said Tuesday,” quoted by the Post. “‘But who is that “us”? There is currently no definition of person in the constitution.’

“The amendment, if approved by voters, would guarantee every person,” writes Ms. Draper, “whatever their stage of life, the right to life, liberty, equality of justice and due process of law – laying the legal foundation to challenge legal abortion.”


Setback for Planned Parenthood

PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS LOST ITS GENERAL CONTRACTOR for the building of a major new facility in Portland, Oregon.

Walsh Construction has pulled out of its involvement with the proposed new PP facilitiy in northeast Portland. The move follows pressure from a group called Precious Children of Portland (PCP), formed to challenge the building project by which PP would move its headquarters to an African-American neighborhood.

“‘Planned Parenthood tries to put their sex product and abortion facilities in Black neighborhoods,” explained the PCP, quoted by Michael Baggot in his report for “‘More Blacks are killed by abortion than all other causes of death combined,’” the group said.

Mr. Baggot quotes the Roman Catholic archbishop for the area, John Vlazny, endorsing PCP and warning of Planned Parenthood’s “‘propaganda’” in a column published in the area Catholic bulletin, The Sentinel. Finding it quite a remarkable work, we publish the entire column by the outspoken archbishop at the close of this week’s Life Advocacy Briefing.


PP Loses Round in Court

A MISSOURI JUDGE HAS DISMISSED A PLANNED PARENTHOOD LAWSUIT seeking to invalidate a state law requiring abortuaries to meet standards for ambulatory surgical centers. Enforcement of the statute is currently suspended pending a federal lawsuit, but at least the state litigation will not further delay its effectiveness. Planned Parenthood routinely files lawsuits challenging statutes which could curb its lucrative business.

Missouri lawmakers in recent years have been particularly aggressive in enacting common-sense regulations such as the one which PP of Kansas & Mid-Missouri challenged in Jackson County. The outfit’s president Peter Brownlie “has said,” writes Mark Morris for the Kansas City Star, “that if the law is enforced, the clinics would have to end abortion services because of the high cost of upgrading the clinics,” suggesting, one would think, PP’s shops now are shoddy and warranting such a law.

“Judge Jay A. Daugherty ruled in favor,” writes Mr. Morris, “of Jane Drummond, director of the Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services, whose lawyers had argued that the legislature clearly meant to regulate abortion clinics under the law, even those that provided medical abortions using drugs, such as RU-486.

“‘Essentially the judge said the law means what it says,’ said Dale Schowengerdt, a lawyer representing [Ms.] Drummond,” reports Mr. Morris. “‘Medication abortions are covered just like any other.’”

One of the Planned Parenthood lawyers, Jennifer Sandman, “argued the law was vague,” writes Mr. Morris, “because it spoke of abortions that are ‘induced,’ which can have a wide range of interpretations.’” The term “induced” is commonly used in statutes to distinguish the intentional act of killing a preborn child from a miscarriage, the technical term for which is “spontaneous abortion.” Virtually every Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging virtually any state law charges the law with “vagueness,” no matter how specifically the law is worded.


Take That!

AN INTENSE CAMPAIGN in Brazil to defend the right to life has culminated in “a stunning victory for the pro-life movement in Latin America,” reports Matthew Cullinan Hoffman for

A committee of Brazil’s lower legislative house “unanimously rejected an abortion decriminalization law,” writes Mr. Hoffman, “that pro-abortion forces have fought for since 1991. The two pro-abortion [lawmakers] on the committee left in protest without voting,” he writes, “leaving the remaining [legislators] to reject the legislation 33 to 0.”

Panel members “embraced each other in tears,” reports Mr. Hoffman, “while pro-abortion forces in the audience yelled epithets at them and against the Catholic Church, which this year initiated” the campaign “along with major efforts by evangelical Protestants.” The campaign, writes Mr. Hoffman, “has resulted in a dramatic increase in pro-life sentiment in Brazil. A recent poll found that 68% of Brazilians now oppose further decriminalization of abortion,” reports LifeSiteNews, “up from 63% last year.”

The legislation, which is backed by the Brazilian minister of health, next goes to another committee, which, writes Mr. Hoffman, “is also expected to reject it.”


Adult Stem Cells Show Promise in M.S. Treatment

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS IS THE LATEST DISEASE to be relieved by adult stem cells. Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada “were trying,” reports Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link, “to boost the immune systems of MS patients with bone marrow stem cell transplants. What they ended up with,” reports Citizen Link, “was a remarkable remission of the disease. Not one patient has had a relapse in nearly seven years.”



FIRST THE SWISS GOVERNMENT DECLARES – apparently with a straight face – that plants should be accorded the same dignity as human beings. Now a Princeton University philosophy professor asserts – apparently with a straight face – that unborn children should not be accorded human dignity because plants are not.

Early this month at a Princeton symposium titled “Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?,” Prof. Elizabeth Harman opined, reports Thaddeus M. Baklinski for, “‘Look, when we think about ending an early human life, this is something that is really bad for the embryo or early fetus that dies; it’s losing out tremendously. I agree with that, as I already said. And then,’” she uttered, “‘you said that it’s one of the things that we should care about. …

“‘I think that I should have said before,’” mused Ms. Harman, quoted by Mr. Baklinski, “‘that I think it’s really dangerous to slide from noticing that something is bad for something, to thinking that that gives us a moral reason. And just to prove that that doesn’t follow, think about plants,’” remarked this deep thinker. “‘So lots of things are bad for trees and plants and flowers, and often that gives us no reasons whatsoever, certainly no moral reasons.

“‘In my view,’” said this, uh, educator, “‘fetuses that die before they’re ever conscious really are a lot like plants: They’re living things, but there’s nothing about them that would make us think that they count morally in the way that people do.’” And what about philosophy professors whose consciousness – or at least cognitive abilities – could be questioned?


Now’s the Time to Say ‘No’ to PP

April 25, 2008, column by Roman Catholic Archbishop John Vlazny in The Sentinel publication of the church in the Portland, Oregon, area

Most of us have already learned that Planned Parenthood of Columbia-Willamette hopes to move its headquarters to a site on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Beech Street in Portland. Considerable opposition to this project has been voiced by many of our fellow citizens, people of all faiths, including Catholics.

More than a year ago, an organization entitled Precious Children of Portland was started with the very specific goal of stopping Planned Parenthood from building a new facility on MLK Jr. Boulevard. The larger goal is to remove Planned Parenthood from all our neighborhoods. Some 13 PPFA (Planned Parenthood Federation of America) facilities can be found in Portland’s metropolitan area.

Why all the opposition? Frankly, too many of our people, including Catholics, fail to understand the disingenuous approach of PPFA in promoting its cause. I fear that many of our Catholic people have been taken in by the propaganda. I believe it is important for us to support the efforts of Precious Children of Portland and to stop the killing of unborn children in our community.

Did you know, for example, that PPFA is the single largest abortion provider in the United States? In 2005, 264,943 surgical and (medical) abortions were performed at PPFA facilities. Furthermore, PPFA claims to serve women’s “choices.” But it reports providing prenatal care to only 12,548 women in 2005 and infertility services to 248.

PPFA profits are alarming. Its revenues keep expanding, $902.8 million in the year ending June 30, 2006 ($55.8 million more than expenses). Fees for abortions range from $350 to $650 and over one-third of its income, $305.3 million, comes from taxpayer dollars.

Even though PPFA representatives claim an interest in reducing abortions, at the same time they advocate unrestricted access to abortion and lobby or file suits against even very modest and widely supported laws that reduce abortions, such as parental notification or counsel before a minor daughter’s abortion.

“Freedom of choice” apparently is not worth supporting when people disagree with PPFA. The right of conscience for doctors and nurses morally opposed to abortion is skirted by PPFA. When the government states it will not force health professionals to violate their medical and moral judgment on abortion, PPFA objects with the bizarre claim that such a policy “intrudes on private, personal medical decision-making.”

When tragedies occur, PPFA is quite selective in its efforts to help victims. For example, when many people lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attack, the January 2006 SEGO Mine disaster and Hurricane Katrina, PPFA offered relief to the survivors in the form of free birth control and abortions. That’s a rather restricted agenda, to say the least.

It doesn’t end there. PPFA also supports the dangerous abortion drug RU-486, promoted its approval by the FDA and volunteered to conduct early US drug trials. PPFA continues to promote RU-486 despite the medical finding that the risk of death after such abortions, from infection alone, is ten times the risk of deaths from all causes in surgical abortions at the same stage of pregnancy. Add to this the fact that PPFA exports its ideology to developing nations, by promotion abortion as family planning and even pressing for our taxpayer dollars to support those who are involved in coerced abortions abroad.

Do we really want to welcome such activities in our community? PPFA supporters are not comfortable when conversations are focused on the culture of death in today’s society. PPFA is a major contributor to the spread of that culture. If we keep silent and stand on the sidelines, this dark force will continue to spread and eventually destroy not only the lives of the unborn but even the moral fiber of our nation.

Folks from Precious Children of Portland are making their protest known. Promoting respect for life and protecting human life from conception to natural death is not a “right-wing cause.” It is a matter of justice. Many of us continue to express concern about the violence of war and the absence of peace. Long ago Pope Paul VI reminded us that if we want peace we must work for justice. There is no justice when relationships are wrong. Relationships among all citizens, especially parents and their children, are obviously quite wrong when abortions flourish as they do in today’s world.

I urge all our Catholic people and friends to express their opposition to our city leaders about the proposed PPFA project on MLK Jr. Boulevard in Portland. The so-called “health and education services” to be provided in that facility would only destroy more human lives and promote promiscuous behavior on the part of young people. The time for saying “no” to PPFA in our community is now.


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