Life Advocacy Briefing

June 29, 2009

Off Schedule, a Bit / Exclude Abortion from ‘Healthcare’ Proposals
/ Senate Refuses to Exalt Baby Killers / Getting Rid of Potential Dissent /
/ Protecting our Healers / Quoteworthy / QuoteworthyII / ‘Choice’? Ha! /
Late-Term Abortions? ‘Never Necessary’

Off Schedule, a Bit

WE ARE WORKING AROUND a vacation of one of our key team members at Life Advocacy Briefing. Hence this edition is arriving a bit earlier than our usual schedule, and the next one will arrive a bit late. We are, however, working to bring you “timely news you can use in the cause of Life” – still weekly during this somewhat challenging time for us. Thank you for your forbearance and always for your concern and action on behalf of Life.


Exclude Abortion from ‘Healthcare’ Proposals

SO MANY PRIORITIES THESE DAYS, BUT NONE HIGHER for pro-life citizens than insisting that abortion and related practices be explicitly excluded from any “healthcare” package advanced through the Congress.

With Congress in recess until July 6, in observance of Independence Day, citizens may still call their Representative’s and Senators’ offices in Washington (Capitol switchboard, 1-202/224-3121) but should also contact them in their homestate offices – or even chat with them during parades and picnics. (Contact information for each is available at the reference desk of public libraries or through Representatives’ and Senators’ individual Internet websites, which can be linked from

The nation’s Healthcare Reformer-in-Chief has explicitly endorsed abortion coverage in his scheme, regardless of whether the legislation mentions it. “In his speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in July of 2008,” notes the pro-life Susan B. Anthony Fund in an SBA e-mail bulletin last week, “Pres. Obama stated that in his mind ‘reproductive care is essential care, basic care, so it is at the center, the heart of the [healthcare] plan that I propose.’ When asked for clarification later,” SBA reports, “an Obama spokesman said that ‘reproductive care included abortion.’”

On the President’s “healthcare reform” proposal and various alternatives being offered on Capitol Hill, much of the debate is centering on costs, competition, rationing, socialism and other concerns. But whatever happens to the overall package, if anything actually does pass, it must first be rendered abortion-neutral, and that is not going to happen by passive hoping.

Nor will taxpayers be protected by the word “abortion” not appearing in a given proposal. (Some Members’ offices might respond that “abortion is not in the proposal.”) Unless it is explicitly barred, it would fall within any general phrase such as “medical procedure” or “clinical practice.” It must be excluded, and its exclusion must be explicit.


Senate Refuses to Exalt Baby Killers

THE U.S. SENATE DID SOMETHING GOOD LAST WEEK. It rejected a resolution mourning murdered abortionist George Tiller and extolling the “crucial services” of Mr. Tiller and others in his so-called profession.

Sponsored by Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Amy Klobuchar (MN), the resolution, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, “decried violence against ‘providers of healthcare services to women’ and asserted, ‘There is a history of violence against providers of reproductive health care, as healthcare employees have suffered threats and hostility in order to provide crucial services to patients.’”

The resolution stalled when Sen. Shaheen “refused requests by some of her colleagues,” writes Ms. Gilbert, “to strike the language celebrating the abortion industry.”

The US House had earlier passed a similar resolution “condemning the Tiller killing and other murders that took place in a house of worship,” writes Ms. Gilbert, “without mentioning Tiller’s profession.”

The LifeSite story quotes Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, “prais[ing] the Senate’s rejection of [Mrs.] Shaheen’s resolution. ‘What an encouragement to the pro-life community,’” he said, quoted by Ms. Gilbert, “‘that while some Senators may vote in favor of abortion, they stand strongly against any effort to glorify it. Like us, they realize that just as violence cannot be tolerated,’” said Mr. Perkins, “‘neither can any effort to exalt those who practice it against the unborn.’”


Getting Rid of Potential Dissent

THE PRESIDENT HAS ABOLISHED THE COUNCIL ON BIOETHICS with one day’s notice, months before the members’ terms were to expire (in September) and before the panel could file what would have been its final report.

“The New York Times reported,” writes Peter J. Smith for, “that Reid Cherlin, a White House press officer, told the paper that Pres. Barack Obama saw them as ‘a philosophically leaning advisory group’ designed by the previous Bush administration, and he wanted to appoint a new bioethics commission which instead ‘offers practical policy options.’”

The Council had expected to meet at least once more and to complete reports on such ticklish issues as organ markets.

“The move has prompted speculation,” writes Mr. Smith, “that the advisory committee’s public dissent from the President’s executive order to fund new lines of embryonic stem cells and begin cloning human embryos for scientific research may have precipitated their dismissal.”

Said Dr. Peter Lawler, a member of the now defunct council, writing in the Weekly Standard and quoted by Mr. Smith: “‘No Council member was ideological in the sense of having anything but the highest respect for and full openness to what we can learn from science. And if expert means being a genuine scientific authority, they were all clearly among our nation’s most formidable experts,’ he said” in the Weekly Standard commentary quoted by LifeSite. “‘There’s no substitute, in a democracy, for thinking together about who we are before deciding what to do, and it’s not “anti-science” to sometimes conclude that science alone doesn’t resolve every dilemma we face about human freedom and dignity.’”

Commented David Prentice, Family Research Council’s bioethics expert on the FRC blog, “Look for a new commission soon with members that will be ideologically in line with the White House, … and the new commission swiftly to consider (and to agree with the President [on]) the issue of stem cells, cloning and embryo experiments.”


Protecting our Healers

THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE HAS PASSED a Conscience Protection billafter stripping an amendment which would have limited its protection to public employees in health care. The final version of HB-517 provides protection for all such workers in both the public and the private sectors and includes protection for pharmacists.  Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has pledged to sign the measure into law.



Briton Alison Davis of No Less Human, a sufferer of multiple severe disabilities, speaking to the 2nd International Symposium on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, quoted by Kathleen Gilbert in her recap of the late-May conference in Lansdowne, Virginia: “In my experience, when the pain is bad, what I need is not to be told I’m burdensome and it’s my choice whether I want to live or die and that perhaps I would be better off dead. What I need is to be surrounded by people who tell me, yes, my life does have value, and I’m not burdensome. … They can’t take the pain away, but sometimes it’s not the pain that hurts the most; it’s the fear of being abandoned.”


Quoteworthy II

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) addressing the National Right to Life convention as keynote speaker in mid-June: “With all his gifts and charisma, it is tragic beyond words that Mr. Obama has chosen to promote the culture of death, and in record time has made the White House the wholly owned subsidiary of the abortion lobby.”


‘Choice’? Ha!

June 23, 2009, BreakPoint commentary by Chuck Colson, copyright Prison Fellowship Ministries

Last year, a young Chinese woman – let’s call her Dan Li – ran afoul of the Chinese government. She had become “illegally pregnant.” By the time the authorities found out, Dan Li was seven months along. Family planning officials tied her to a bed, induced labor and, when the baby was born, killed the baby.

What happened to Dan Li is an abomination – one, however, that tragically takes place regularly in China. But now, thanks to the US Congress, you and I will be paying for it.

Last March, without fanfare, Congress passed a bill providing $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA]. This organization promotes abortion around the globe – including in China. What makes the bill especially heinous is that it voided Kemp/Kasten, a [law] which, for two decades, prevented our tax dollars from funding forced abortions and sterilization.

This blows the lid off the argument that abortion is all about giving a woman choice. If Congress really stands for choice, as they claim, why did they vote for coercion? If feminists are really for choice, why aren’t they fighting this law? Why isn’t our pro-choice President demanding that this brutalization of women be stopped?

Abortion is a glaring example of the difference worldview makes. Are all children – Chinese babies or innercity African-American babies – worthy of protection? Are babies just mouths to feed and a strain on the environment – or are they potential producers and contributors? Do parents have the right under God to have as many children as they desire? Or should governments dictate this decision?

Let’s be clear: Coercive family planning is a humanitarian disaster.

Reggie Littlejohn is an expert on China’s “One Child” policy for a group called Human Rights Without Frontiers. She points to three negative outcomes of China’s policy.

First, “gendercide.” Parents who are forced to limit their families to one child overwhelmingly abort girls. For every 120 boys born in China, there are only 100 girls born. So, since China’s “One Child” policy began in 1978, she writes, “400 million births” have been “prevented.” That’s more than the current US population.

Second, China’s gender imbalance “is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery from nations surrounding China.”

Third, according to the World Health Organization, China suffers the largest female suicide rate in the world – some 500 women per day. As Littlejohn notes, “Forced abortion traumatizes women. Could this high suicide rate be related to forced abortion?”

You and I need to let our friends and churches know about what Congress did – that their taxes [are] being used by the UNFPA to support coercive family planning programs in China. According to Reggie Littlejohn, if there’s enough of an outcry, “Congress can pass an amendment blocking … funding from going to nations that practice coercive family planning.”

Certainly pro-choicers would agree that women deserve better than to be hunted down and tied up while their babies are killed.


Late-Term Abortions? ‘Never Necessary’

Excerpts from June 22, 2009, story by Thaddeus M. Baklinski

A former abortionist who is now the president-elect of the American Assn. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists has written a persuasive discourse questioning whether late-term abortion is ever necessary. Writing in the Family Research Council’s website, Dr. Mary L. Davenport MD, FACOG, observed that following the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller on May 31, 2009, and the subsequent announcement of the closing of Tiller’s facility, public attention has again focused on the issue of late-term abortion. …

Referring to a statement by Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, who admitted in 1997 that the vast majority of partial-birth abortions were performed on healthy mothers and babies, Dr. Davenport explains that “contrary to the assertion of abortion rights supporters that late-term abortion is performed for serious reasons, surveys of late abortion patients confirm that the vast majority occur because of delay in diagnosis of pregnancy. They are done for similar reasons as early abortions: relationship problems, young or old maternal age, education or financial concerns.

“Most of Tiller’s abortions conformed to the generally elective character of these late-term procedures,” writes Davenport. “Peggy Jarman of the Pro-Choice Action League stated that about three-fourths of Tiller’s late-term patients were teenagers who denied to themselves or their families that they were pregnant until that fact could no longer be obscured.”

Considering the claim that serious maternal health problems require abortions, Dr. Davenport states that “intentional abortion for maternal health, particularly after viability, is one of the great deceptions used to justify all abortion.

“The very fact that the baby of an ill mother is viable raises the question of why, indeed, it is necessary to perform an abortion to end the pregnancy. With any serious maternal health problem, termination of pregnancy can be accomplished by inducing labor or performing a cesarean section, saving both mother and baby.”

Davenport points out that fetal problems “are the other serious rationale for considering abortion.”However, she says, despite advances in ultrasound diagnosis, these diagnoses are not always accurate, and cases have occurred where women have declined to abort their ostensibly sick child, only for the child to be born perfectly healthy.

Even in the most serious circumstances – fatal fetal abnormalities – writes Davenport, there is no good reason to abort the child. As an alternative to abortion for fatal birth defects, Dr. Davenport proposes a perinatal hospice, which involves continuing the pregnancy until labor begins and giving birth naturally, in a setting of comfort and support until the natural death of the child occurs. …

Dr. Davenport concludes that “although serious threats to health can occur, there is always a life-affirming way to care for mother and baby, no matter how bleak the prognosis. The elimination of late-term abortion would not create a void in medical care but would instead result in a more humane world in which vulnerable humans would be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

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