Life Advocacy Briefing

November 9, 2009

Moving Along? / Maneuvers / Oblivious / NARAL Knee-Deep in Scozzafava Fiasco / Planned Parenthood Tries to Silence Ex-Director / Pro-Life Counselors Have (Some) Rights! / Comparative Death Toll / Still Waiting / To the Ramparts! / Quotable

Moving Along?

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK they would attempt to bring the Pelosi Plan, HR-3962, to a vote on Saturday evening, after our deadline. As we write this Life Advocacy Briefing, we are in prayer. We’ve done what we can, at this stage, and are confident our readers have as well; so much is in the balance.

Regardless of what has – or has not – happened in the House, ObamaCare is still a ways off. Senate leaders were suggesting, after last Tuesday’s elections, they do not expect to bring the massive takeover scheme to deliberation in the full Senate for several weeks or longer. This despite their having, just days before the pivotal New Jersey and Virginia elections, canceled the scheduled week-long Veterans Day recess in order, ostensibly, to apply themselves and their colleagues to dealing with what they euphemistically call “health care.”

Perhaps they’ll use the extra session days to consider appropriations bills, now overdue by more than five weeks and still seeming to draw little notice from our hard-working solons.



EARLIER IN THE WEEK, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) floated an amendment offering an alternative means of excluding abortion from the Pelosi bill. Trouble is, the amendment does not actually do that, and the timing – shortly after Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) announced he had enough Democrats voting with him and his Hyde-like amendment to block consideration of the entire bill – smells like something concocted in the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who reportedly is seeking to peel off pro-life Democratic Members from the Stupak coalition.

The Ellsworth bid appears to be a key gambit in what Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn, writers for the New York Times, call “the haggling over abortion.” This “haggling,” reports the Times, “was part of a frenetic effort by House Democratic leaders to lock in the 218 votes needed to pass the legislation, and it highlighted the political land mines on the path to a vote … .”

“Ellsworth” was quickly analyzed and rejected by various pro-life organizations and House Members. National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, said, “‘The Ellsworth language is the legislative equivalent of putting pancake makeup on a cancer, rather than performing lifesaving surgery.’”

House Pro-Life Caucus co-chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) reacted swiftly to the release of the Ellsworth language. “‘Today we see yet another phony amendment designed to subsidize and expand the abortion industry cloaked in deceptive language,’” Mr. Smith said in the LifeSite story. “‘Under the [proposed] new arrangement,’” he said, writes Ms. Gilbert, “‘instead of an HHS employee issuing blood money checks for elective abortions, Health & Human Services will pay a contractor to issue checks for abortion on demand,’ [Rep.] Smith explained. ‘It is a distinction without a difference. The public should not be fooled, nor should any pro-life Democrat.’”

Rep. Smith, notes Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in FRC’s Washington Update, remarked the Ellsworth idea “‘amounts to the federal government taking out a contract on the unborn.’”  Mr. Johnson, in the New York Times report, called the Ellsworth arrangement “‘a money-laundering scheme under which the Health secretary would hire an agent to pay abortion providers.’” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, issued an SBA bulletin terming the Ellsworth language “a phony compromise … which simply creates a middle man to handle the federal funding of elective abortions.”

We are willing to give Rep. Ellsworth the benefit of the doubt as to his sincerity, but we are dismayed at his willingness to help Speaker Pelosi rescue her trillion-dollar boondoggle and his seeming gullibility in, most likely, doing Rep. Hoyer’s dirty work. Comments by faithfully pro-abortion House Leaders, including Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), suggest they could live with and even embrace the Ellsworth language. That ought to be a red flag to the gentleman from Indiana.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was continuing during the week to hold out for his abortion-related amendment, which would insert Hyde Amendment language into HR-3962 in order to exclude most abortions from coverage underwritten by taxpayers, whether through subsidy of “private” insurance policies or directly by government-furnished medical care. And the Republican substitute measure unveiled this week incorporates a permanent Hyde Amendment barring government funding for elective abortion and barring taxpayer subsidies for plans that cover abortion. Abortion, after all, is not health care!



VOTERS LAST TUESDAY SENT A STRONG MESSAGE to the Democratic leaders in Congress, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seems to be oblivious, exulting, irrelevantly, that her side had won the only race in which her organization was involved. “‘From our perspective,’” she told the New York Times Wednesday, “‘we won last night.’”

The weird election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, in which the GOP candidate endorsed her Democratic opponent three days before voting day, can hardly be said to offer comfort to those Democratic Representatives whom Speaker Pelosi is pressuring to walk the plank for her dazzlingly expensive healthcare takeover scheme.

In California’s 10th District, east of San Francisco, Democrat John Garamendi won last Tuesday’s special election, but with only 52.98% of the vote, contrasted with the 65% vote by which former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D) won her seventh term in 2008. Republican nominee David Harmer took 42.69%, and the balance was spread among three minor party candidates.

Stunning results, though, came from Virginia, where the GOP re-took the governor’s office with a victory margin of just under 18%, and from New Jersey, where the incumbent Democrat fell despite immensely outspending and continually attacking his GOP opponent. The President and Vice President had campaigned for both gubernatorial nominees, and the Obama political operation was deeply involved in attempting to rescue New Jersey’s Jon Corzine.


N.A.R.A.L. Knee-Deep in Scozzafava Fiasco

THE NATIONAL ABORTION RIGHTS ACTION LEAGUE CRAWLED into New York’s 23rd District on both knees in late October, trying to breathe life (!) into the campaign of beleaguered Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava.

NARAL’s New York branch “blanketed 10,000 mailboxes in New York’s 23rd [District]” on the Thursday and Friday before the scheduled vote, reports Peter J. Smith for, just at the time Ms. Scozzafava was closing down her campaign. (Though she made a withdrawal announcement, her name still appeared on the ballot.)

“The mass mailing cost something to the tune of $10,000-$15,000,” writes Mr. Smith, “and [told] readers that [Ms.] Scozzafava [was] a ‘no-brainer choice’ because the GOP Assemblywoman has a ‘100% pro-choice record and a clear record of commitment to reproductive and women’s healthcare issues.’”

NARAL’s intervention was sharply criticized by others on the Left, lamenting that the extremist group’s exposure of the Scozzafava record would be, um, unhelpful.


Planned Parenthood Tries to Silence Ex-Director

THE FORMER DIRECTOR OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD’s SHOP in Bryan, Texas, has a day in court tomorrow, Tuesday, when PP’s petition to permanently shut her up will be heard before a judge. PP previously secured a temporary restraining order against Abby Johnson upon learning she had joined forces with the local Coalition for Life.

Apparently before she was ordered not to speak, Ms. Johnson had already released financial information pertaining to the outfit in Bryan. “‘There are definitely client goals [quotas],’” Ms. Johnson said, quoted by Chelsea Schilling for (WND). “‘We’d have a goal every month for abortion clients and for family planning clients.’”

Though the shop had customarily offered surgical abortions only on Saturdays, Ms. Johnson said it had “[begun] expanding access to abortion to increase earnings,” writes Ms. Schilling. “‘One of the ways they were able to up the number of [abortion] patients that they saw was they started doing the RU-486 chemical abortions all throughout the week.’ …

“[Ms.] Johnson said the chemical abortion costs the same as an early first-trimester abortion,” reports WND, “between $505 and $695 for each procedure. She told WND the clinic was experiencing financial difficulties due to the economic downturn.

“‘Abortion is the most lucrative part of PP’s operations,’ she said,” reports Ms. Schilling. “‘Even though they’re two separate corporations, all of the money goes into one pot. With the family planning corporation really suffering,’” she said, “‘they depend on the abortion corporation to balance their budget, help get them out of the hole and help make income for the company.’”

The 29-year-old resigned from Planned Parenthood on Oct. 6 after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion, which, she told WND, “‘are not typically done in PP abortion centers because they’re more time-consuming, and that’s just not something that centers like that do. I’d never seen one of those done before,’” she explained to Ms. Schilling. “‘For whatever reason, the physician had called me back to assist with the procedure,’” she said. “‘When I saw that, that was really when my heart was changed.’”

Ms. Johnson had worked at the Bryan PP for eight years, the last two as director, notes WND. “She said she kept ‘pushing down the guilt,’” writes Ms. Schilling, “and felt spiritually unsettled. ‘There’s no religion and there’s no spirituality in an abortion clinic. There can’t be,’ she said. ‘Whatever side you are on, pro-life or pro-choice, it is what it is – and that’s taking a human life.’”


Pro-Life Counselors Have (Some) Rights!

A ‘BUBBLE-ZONE’ ORDINANCE HAS BEEN STRUCK DOWN by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, which, writes Bob Unruh for (WND), “said the measure imposed an ‘onerous’ burden on the First Amendment.”

The ruling overturned an ordinance in Pittsburgh creating zones outside abortuaries wherein customers could not be approached. Such ordinances are designed to prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from offering hope or alternative services to those seeking to have their babies killed.

Said David Cortman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defense Fund, which argued the case, quoted by WND: “‘We agree with the court’s conclusion that the ordinance violated the free speech rights of pro-life advocates by zoning them out of the areas where they have a First Amendment right to speak. This decision is significant because the court drew a well-needed line in the sand that cities may not cross. Such overbroad and unprecedented restrictions on pro-life speech around abortion clinics violate the Constitution,’ he said,” writes Mr. Unruh.

The opinion hinged on the double layering of the restrictions in the Pittsburgh ordinance; that is, the ordinance both buffers the abortion clinic door itself for a stretch of 15 feet from any entrance and requires anyone within 100 feet of the abortuary to obtain permission from the customer before approaching within eight feet of any person approaching the mill.

“‘We [conclude] that the combination of the bubble and buffer zones is invalid,’” the court said, as quoted by WND, “‘under the First Amendment.’”

The Pittsburgh decision could reflect on the bubble-zone ordinance passed in late September by the Chicago City Council. That ordinance is set to take effect Nov. 18 unless Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoes it.


Comparative Death Toll

“THE SWINE FLU HAS CLAIMED THE LIVES OF AT LEAST 114 CHILDREN in the United States since April,” reports Cybercast News Service ( writer Karen Schuberg, citing “the latest data available from the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).”

During that same time frame, extrapolating from the latest published data on abortion in America, writes Ms. Schuberg, “an estimated 694,060 children were killed by abortion over the last seven months – not including deaths from abortion drugs taken privately, outside of clinics.”

Said Brian Clowes, director of research for Human Life International, quoted by “‘This staggering inconsistency hardly even shocks us any more, as the latest “pandemic” never even begins to reach the death toll that we have grown to tolerate from legalized abortion. Ignoring the by-far-largest killer of children in favor of the latest fashionable panic goes beyond mere irony,’” said Mr. Clowes. “‘It speaks of a deep societal sickness that we can hardly comprehend because it is so pervasive.’”


Still Waiting

ILLINOIS PRO-LIFERS & PARENTS GOT A JOLT OF HOPE last week in a news report Wednesday stating that the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 would finally take effect that day.

The cheer was short-lived, as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) went into court Wednesday and secured a restraining order from Cook County Judge Daniel Riley blocking enforcement of the law. This after 14 years of litigation through the federal court system.

Defending the law – as it has for 14 years – is the Chicago-based Thomas More Society pro-life pro-bono law firm, both in court and in the labyrinth of the Illinois state bureaucracy.

Illinois is the only Midwestern state – and one of only 14 states overall – where parental notice or consent laws are not enforced. Sustained blocking of the Illinois statute has made the Land of Lincoln a magnet for abortionists who specialize in luring adolescent girls across state lines for secret abortions.


To the Ramparts!

THE EXTREME ABORTION AGENDA OF SPAIN’s SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT last month sparked a protest which drew 1.2 to 1.5 million people into the streets of Madrid.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is pushing unrestricted abortion in the first 14 weeks of a baby’s gestation and secret abortions on teen mothers aged 16 to 17.

“The overwhelmingly Catholic country currently allows only abortion in the cases of rape, fetal deformity, or when the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk,” explains Christian Post writer Ethan Cole. (That’s quite an expansive list – though less lenient than America’s abortion laws – yet the ruling party demands even more abortions!)



The late President Ronald Reagan, in his book Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation: “Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide.”

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