Life Advocacy Briefing

June 1, 2009

Assessing the Judge / Reaction from Americans United for Life / Disease Promotion? / What’s Your Definition of Torture? / Capitalizing on Opinion Shift / Good News from Good Science / Defunding Planned Parenthood / No Common Ground

Assessing the Judge

WE’ve BEEN READING MANY SOURCES concerning the Supreme Court nomination last Monday of Appellate Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who appears to be the choice of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and whose principal distinctives appear to be her female sex and Puerto Rican ethnicity.

Any “paper trail” betraying her position on abortion has yet to be uncovered. Her refusal to abet the abortion lobby’s attempt to overturn the pro-life Mexico City Policy through litigation appears to be giving pause to the death merchants, yet the terminology she employed in rejecting the constitutional challenge to Mexico City brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights gives no comfort to advocates of Life.

Senate Judiciary Committee members will need to probe her views skillfully and without timidity if we are to gain a clearer picture.

This we do know and report from a variety of sources: The decisions she has rendered as a federal judge have been overturned by the US Supreme Court in 60% of her opinions which the high court has considered; one of the most controversial – and most likely to be overturned – rulings she has handed down is pending at the US Supreme Court now and will likely be reported extensively at the very time she is undergoing confirmation hearings; and, she is clearly an activist judge who regularly applies her own prejudices to the cases before her.

For now, the message which needs to be communicated to every US Senator (1-202/224-3121) is this: “Take time to study and review the record of Judge Sotomayor. This is a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court; do not rush the nomination through.”

Seeing Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) out front seeking speed in pressing for Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation – as he is doing at every opportunity – ought to give every American pause.


Reaction from Americans United for Life

THOUGH THE LEGAL STAFF AT A.U.L. DEMONSTRATED RESTRAINT in analyzing Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, Charmaine Yoest, gave a definitive response to the nomination, summarizing the problem pro-life Americans will have with the nominee regardless of whether a “smoking gun” is ever uncovered with respect to the judge’s position on abortion law.

Here is the statement issued by Mrs. Yoest: “For all the President’s talk of finding ‘common ground,’ this appointment completely contradicts that hollow promise. Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy undermines common ground. She is a radical pick that divides America.

“She believes the role of the Court is to set policy, which is exactly the philosophy that led to the Supreme Court turning into the ‘National Abortion Control Board,’ denying the American people the right to be heard on this critical issue.

“This appointment would provide a pedestal for an avowed judicial activist to impose her personal policy and beliefs onto others from the bench, at a time when the courts are at a crossroad and critical abortion regulations – supported by the vast majority of Americans – like partial-birth abortion and informed consent laws, lie in the balance.”

And, from a May 26 AUL e-mail bulletin: “Frankly, this is a very troubling nomination. In listing his requirements for a Supreme Court pick, Pres. Obama highlighted ‘empathy’ rather than loyalty to Constitutional principles. Now we see what that means – a judge who makes it clear she decides cases on feelings, not facts. She is a radical judicial activist who readily admits that she applies her personal political agenda when deciding cases.”

Americans United for Life is a leading pro-life non-profit law and public policy organization, based in Chicago, which advises lawmakers, monitors the courts, litigates public interest cases in defense of innocent human life and educates the public on legal matters relating to the right to life. AUL’s Internet “address” is


Disease Promotion?

IN AN APPOINTMENT WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE CONFIRMATION by the Senate, the President has tapped New York City’s controversial health commissioner, Thomas Frieden, as director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

The public health doctor led a massive campaign in 2007 pushing condoms on New Yorkers as an ill-conceived gimmick to stem the HIV epidemic. The NYC health department’s news release at the time, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, urged, “‘Take the worry of disease and pregnancy out of your sex life; using condoms can make sex more relaxed and enjoyable.’”

The campaign featured the “free” distribution of some 26 million condoms to the public, including young teens, on the streets of New York, and promoted “condomized promiscuity,” reports Ms. Gilbert, through both television and subway ads.


What’s Your Definition of ‘Torture’?

WARNING TO THOSE INCLINED TO TRUST IN U.N. TREATIES: “The United Nations committee charged with monitoring compliance with the Convention Against Torture has declared that Nicaragua’s full protection of fetal life violates the country’s obligations under the treaty.” Thus begins Piero Tozzi’s report in the May 28 Friday Fax bulletin of Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam).

Amnesty International urged the warping of the definition of torture “in a shadow briefing to the torture committee,” reports Mr. Tozzi, “assert[ing] that Nicaragua’s legislation banning all abortions was equivalent to government commissioned ‘torture’ or at least ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’ banned by the [Treaty].”

Mr. Tozzi notes the review is the first examination of Nicaragua’s policies by the nosy committee since the Latin American country “outlawed abortion for any reason three years ago.” But, he adds, “The Torture Committee is the fourth UN committee to pressure Nicaragua with respect to its laws protecting unborn life, joining the [UN] committees charged with monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW], the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.”

Remarks C-Fam president Austin Ruse: “These folks will jump through any hoops for their abortion sacrament.”


Capitalizing on Opinion Shift

GEORGIA REPUBLICANS ADOPTED A RESOLUTION at their May 16 state convention calling for an amendment to the state constitution, “making clear,” reports Georgia Right to Life (GRtL) in a news release quoting the resolution, “that the protections under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution apply to unborn children … .”

A November 2008 poll by Strategic Vision, according to GRtL, “asked Georgia voters if they would be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade; 57% of the voters said yes.”

GRtL president Dan Becker noted, “‘These polls show us that as the public is educated about what abortion really is, that public opinion is shifting in favor of Life.’”


Good News from Good Science

A DALLAS-AREA COUPLE ARE REPORTING THE CURE of their son Isaac from sickle cell anemia, a genetic deformity of the blood cells which often results in childhood death.

The little boy was treated, reports Charlie Butts for, by adult stem cells derived safely and ethically from the umbilical cord which had nourished his little brother before birth.

In an interview recorded by Texas Alliance for Life and quoted by Mr. Butts for the online news service of the American Family Assn., Isaac’s mother Darlene Davis declared, “‘That adult stem cell got my son cured today. He is healed. What I’m talking about is no more sickle cell, no more running to the hospital, no more fevers, no more blood transfusions. He’s a healthy child today.’” No human being was sacrificed for the cure of little Isaac.


Defunding Planned Parenthood

May 21, 2009, Baptist Press commentary by Penna Dexter

When the movie Juno received four Academy Award nominations and actually won the Oscar for best original screenplay, former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt was worried. In the film, Juno, a pregnant teenager, decides against an abortion, a change of heart partially due to her experience at an abortion clinic.

Feldt admitted to, “The clinic in Juno is terrible.” But, she added: “It’s a terribly untrue stereotype.” When Juno arrives at the clinic, a flippant and heavily pierced receptionist seems to care more about forcing a lavender condom on her than on offering real help for her current dilemma. This is a parody on what we know about Planned Parenthood: They’re a lot more about contraception and abortion than about abstinence and adoption.

Feldt described workers in Planned Parenthood clinics as “compassionate” and “dedicated to making women feel comfortable.”

However, it’s pretty hard to make someone “comfortable” about aborting her baby. Juno decided to opt out. She kept remembering something the pro-life volunteer outside the clinic told her: “It has fingernails.”

Despite its name, Planned Parenthood is all about preventing children from being born – and you and I are helping to foot the bill. By law, taxpayer dollars cannot fund abortion. But organizations with privately funded abortion programs are eligible for public funds if they are used for other purposes. The truth is, Planned Parenthood is, by far, the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing more abortions every year. In fact, their 2007-08 annual report shows an increase of more than 15,000 abortions in 2007. Even though it turns a huge profit, the organization receives more than $300 million in federal funding annually. Its leaders say they keep the money on the contraception side of the operation.

But in some states like Texas, authorities are getting wise to Planned Parenthood.

Four clinics in San Antonio were ordered in April to cease and desist from all abortions. It seems they were aborting without licenses. Clinic officials claim they didn’t know they needed a license to give out the abortion pill. They do. Because the clinics receive state funding, some Texas lawmakers are asking for an investigation.

Corpus Christi, seeing the need for some budgetary restraint, announced in December that it is cutting out Planned Parenthood. Citizens who pushed for this said the organization is far too wealthy and controversial to be deemed worthy of public support.

And in the Texas Panhandle, after a 12-year battle, all Planned Parenthood clinics have been shut down. In 1997, there were 19 of them.

A couple of Texas legislators have proposed completely cutting Planned Parenthood from the state budget. The idea is to channel funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, which also offer Pap smears, cancer screening and contraception, to general practice clinics.

Other cities and states are looking at defunding Planned Parenthood. In Orange County, California, supervisors took steps in April to eliminate funding for “health education” programs at sites where abortions also are performed. This is a trend that should be encouraged.


No Common Ground

May 28, 2009, commentary by Peter Heck for, online news division of the American Family Assn. (AFA)

In his letter to the church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul warned the faithful believers to be on guard for those who speak with eloquence but whose message is corrupt and evil. His purpose was “so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” It is becoming increasingly clear that as our country has lost its grip on its Godly underpinnings and has forsaken a solid Biblical worldview, our ability as a people to resist this trap has greatly deteriorated.

Consider as evidence the reaction of many Americans to our President’s recent remarks on the most crucial human rights issue of our time. In addressing abortion during a commencement speech, Pres. Barack Obama appeared to humbly propose attempting to find common ground.

“Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family and the same fulfillment of a life well lived.” Does Pres. Obama not realize how twisted of a statement that is for him to make, given that his policies facilitate the destruction of a life well lived.  Mr. President, why do you continue to advocate limiting that right to merely those who are convenient?

Yet media sources across the country had high praise for Obama’s “eloquence” on the issue. To them I would simply point out that a steaming pile of excrement, eloquently presented, is still a steaming pile of excrement.

To illustrate, let’s suppose I made the audacious suggestion that we begin allowing families to choose the execution of their dependent great-grandparents. These elderly folks are not productive members of society; they are a financial and emotional drain on a family’s resources, and they drive big cars with large emissions, making our planet less livable. Or perhaps I suggest allowing families to choose the execution of their physically or emotionally handicapped children. They tried their best to provide for these kids, but they had no idea the burden they would end up being. Financially, emotionally, it’s just too much for them.

Though I would be using the same logic as the abortion crowd, you would hopefully recoil in disgust at my depraved and inhuman proposals. So in response, suppose I offered to “find common ground” with you. How about a waiting period? You have to wait 30 days after your initial decision to kill your grandparents. That’s more reasonable, right? Or we could have a familial consent law? You must have unanimous approval from your immediate family to go through with the execution. Better yet, a post-birth version of the ultrasound law: You have to watch a 30-minute video of your grandparents knitting, crocheting and watching TV before you have them exterminated.

Do these compromises make my suggestion more agreeable to you? Of course not. And why? Because you recognize that life itself is worth protecting, not because of what it can do or how easy it is to deal with or whether it’s “wanted” or whether it’s financially independent. It’s worth protecting simply because it’s life, and there is intrinsic worth in every human being.

That is why there is and can be no “common ground” on the issue of abortion. Waiting periods, parental consent, ultrasound laws – they all end up with the same result: “Do these things, and then you can kill the baby.” To Americans who have grown up in a country predicated upon defending the defenseless and recognizing what even Barack Obama himself calls the dignity of life given to us by God, this is unacceptable.

Scientifically, medically, spiritually, there is no longer any question that human life begins at the moment of conception. And therefore we are compelled to defend it from that point, not find common ground with those who wish to allow its destruction – even if they make their proposals with what Paul called “fine-sounding arguments.”

Obama may speak with high platitudes and with soaring rhetoric. But if we as a people lack the ability to see through such eloquence and examine the content of what is being said, rather than the mere presentation of how it is said, God help us.


Permission granted to quote with attribution. Reproduction rights granted only by express authorization.