Life Advocacy Briefing

April 19, 2010

Great Loss / Threat Repulsed / Discrimination Is No Virtue
/ Defending ‘the Least of These’ / States Resisting ObamaCare Abortion Coverage /
Nebraska Advances the Cause / Kansas in Jeopardy / Following in the Stupak Steps?
/ Correction / Succinct Summary

Great Loss

WE OFFER THE PEOPLE OF POLAND – and those of good heart around the world – our solidarity in mourning the death April 10 of Lech Kaczysnki, who as president of Poland, stood resolutely against immense pressures from the European Union and various United Nations agencies in defending his nation’s firmly rooted pro-life/family policies and principles. Tragically lost in an airliner crash in Russia – along with his wife and as many as half of the Polish cabinet and other Polish officials – Pres. Kaczynski was a giant of grit and compassion. He will be sorely missed, and we pray that his successor will seek to model his greatness in the causes of justice and mercy.


Threat Repulsed

THE POISONOUS NOMINATION OF ABORTION INDUSTRY LAWYER DAWN JOHNSEN to the critical Office of Legal Counsel in the Dept. of Justice has been withdrawn. Hallelujah! Thanks to Senate Republicans, who threatened a filibuster; to Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Arlen Specter (D-PA), who had vowed to vote against confirming her; and especially to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who made it his mission to keep the controversy of her radicalism before the public and the Senate for the entire year-plus of her nomination’s pendency.


Discrimination Is No Virtue

VIRGINIA GOV. BOB McDONNELL (R) IS SEEKING TO BAR ABORTION FUNDING in the budget he has submitted to the legislature. Well, most abortion funding.

With thanks to the governor for his goodintention – which will challenge the pro-abortion majority in the state senate – we would ask those public officials who work in the arena of ending abortion subsidies (including Gov. McDonnell): Please stop adding loopholes to funding bans!

Public opinion polling has demonstrated huge majorities of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund the abortion industry. That polling, conducted most famously of late in the context of ObamaCare, shows overwhelming support for funding bans without having offered the option of subsidizing the killing of babies whose conception results from sex crimes.

The public opposes tax-funded abortions, period, and politically, Americans have moved beyond the Bush-era excuses for baby killing.

All a sex-crime loophole accomplishes is the undermining of the fundamental basis for limiting or outlawing abortion – the human nature of the prenatal boy or girl. Please, honorable pro-life political leaders, stop discriminating and stand, instead, for Life, all Life.


Defending ‘the Least of These’

THE ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND HAS FILED A LAWSUIT challenging the legality of the Obama Regime’s policy of subsidizing embryo-killing biomedical experimentation.

The pro-life/pro-bono law firm contends the Obama move violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, attached every year to the National Institutes of Health appropriations measure, which bars federal funding of human embryo sacrifice for research purposes.


States Resisting ObamaCare Abortion Coverage

THE STATE OF TENNESSEE HAS ENACTED LEGISLATIONPROTECTING their citizens from having to fund abortions under ObamaCare. And, according to Americans United for Life (AUL), which drafted the legislation, it appears “the Volunteer State” is just the first.

“Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma are considering similar legislation,” reports Peter J. Smith for “A bill under consideration in Kansas takes the AUL legislation one step further and would actually prohibit insurance coverage of abortion in all health plans, regardless of whether or not they are part of the [ObamaCare-established] exchange plans.” Georgia, though nearing the end of its legislative session, may also take quick action, according to Daniel McConchie, government affairs vice president for the Chicago-based AUL.

One section of ObamaCare (Sec. 1303), reports Mr. Smith, “explictly allows the state-run health insurance exchanges to prohibit public funds from subsidizing health insurance companies that offer co-pays for abortion.” AUL quickly rolled out its draft legislation using that section to pro-life state lawmakers across the country.

Mr. McConchie noted that not all legislatures are meeting in the even-numbered year and that many met only briefly this year and have adjourned. But he said in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘For the percentage of states that can currently do something, [the fact that five are taking immediate action] is significant.’”


Nebraska Advances the Cause

NEBRASKA LAWMAKERS HAVE LAUNCHED INTO NEW TERRITORY in limiting abortions and, through both their debate and the educational value of laws, informing the public about the gruesome reality both of abortion and of the injustice in America’s current abortion laws.

Gov. Dave Heineman (R) last week signed two new laws governing abortion, both of which may be motivated by the sickening antics of Nebraska’s most notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, plaintiff in the Carhart v. Stenberg case in which he challenged the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. When the late George Tiller’s family announced nearly a year ago that the Tiller late-term abortion mill in Wichita would not reopen following Mr. Tiller’s murder, Mr. Carhart made a public bid to take over the Tiller business but was turned down.

Substantively, the new laws would bar abortions on babies who have gestated at least 20 weeks – with none of the “mother’s health” loopholes plaguing enforcement of the state’s existing faux late-term ban – and would require screening of abortion customers “for mental health issues,” reports Associated Press (AP), “and other risk factors indicating if they might have problems afterward.” The late-term ban cites fetal pain as the rationale for setting the trigger at 20 weeks; experts have testified, both in court and before Congress, that preborn children evidence pain from 20 weeks on. Incorporating a “fetal pain” rationale in such a law helps the public – and public officials – grasp the painful nature of abortion and move them toward mercy.

“Nebraska Right to Life submitted nine studies finding late-term babies feel pain,” notes pro-life commentator Jill Stanek in her column.

The usual suspects may challenge the two new laws in court, offering Nebraska another opportunity to have its laws upheld, ultimately, by the US Supreme Court, undermining the high court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton edicts. “‘This,’” complained Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, reported by AP, “‘would be like taking a huge hacksaw to the rights’” invented by the courts in developing abortion jurisprudence. Absent the likely litigation, the laws are scheduled to take effect in October. With litigation, notes Mrs. Stanek, “pro-lifers will soon be asking the [Supreme] Court to reconsider its previous decision[s] based on additional new information. … Just as the 1973 US Supreme Court could not possibly have considered that some day abortionists would deliver a baby breech up to the head, pierce her skull and suction her brains out [as in partial-birth abortion, the banning of which the high court eventually upheld], [the Court] had no way of knowing preborn babies can feel pain.”

Hence the dilemma being chewed over by the usual knee-jerkers among the abortion industry’s litigation collaborators. Can the abortion industry afford to risk another Supreme Court ruling limiting the reach of Roe just to protect late-term bottom-feeders like LeRoy Carhart? This could take some actual thought, painful in its own right.


Kansas in Jeopardy

KANSAS LAWMAKERS TRIED TO DISCOURAGE LeRoy Carhart from moving into their state, especially in view of the late-term abortion ban simultaneously working its way through the process in his home state of Nebraska, which borders Kansas. But Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) – who succeeded to his office from the Lt. Governor slot when Kathleen Sebelius went to Washington to become the Obama health commissar – vetoed legislation which Operation Rescue (OR) describes as “requir[ing] abortionists to report the precise diagnosis used to justify late-term abortions. …

“‘ This bill would have helped law enforcement agencies determine [whether] late-term abortions [committed] after viability are being done in compliance with the law,’” said OR president Troy Newman in the Kansas-based organization’s news release. “‘In Kansas, governmental cover-up for abortion abuses is a way of life.’”

The bill would also have “adjust[ed] the definition of viability,” reports Associated Press, “so a fetus would be considered viable if there’s a ‘reasonable probability’ it would survive outside the womb with life-sustaining measures such as an incubator. Also,” notes AP, “it would codify a state rule that the required second opinion on whether late-term abortions are necessary come from doctors in Kansas,” subject to Kansas authorities.

The Parkinson veto of the clarifying legislation, commented Mr. Newman, “‘could cause Kansas to reassume the title as the Late-Term Abortion Capital.’”

Kansas’s late-term abortion ban is largely useless, as illustrated by the career the late Wichita late-term abortionist George Tiller notoriously built while flouting the law. The useful loophole permits the killing of gestating babies who have reached viability wherever, as OR describes the provision, “the continuation of the pregnancy would present a ‘substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function’ of the pregnant woman” (a/k/a mother). “Since 2000,” notes OR, “that law has been interpreted to include ‘mental health’ as long as the mental health risk was ‘substantial and irreversible.’”

But abortionists have since then reported post-viability abortions for what OR calls “nebulous ‘mental health’ reasons. There has never been a recorded late-term abortion in Kansas history done to save the life or physical health of the mother,” reports OR, despite thousands of late-term babies killed every year by Mr. Tiller and his collaborating staff.

Indeed, a psychiatrist who examined files on Kansas late-term abortions during a probe initiated by then-Atty. Gen. Phill Kline “noted,” reports OR, “that not one of the files he examined met the legal requirement that mental health impairments be ‘substantial and irreversible.’ [Dr. Paul] McHugh determined,” reports OR, “that most late-term abortions were being [committed] because women felt they could not attend a prom, concert or sporting event [while pregnant] or for other ‘trivial’ social reasons and not for any legitimate psychiatric diagnosis.”


Following in the Stupak Steps?

THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR THE NOW-OPEN SEAT HELD BY REP. BART STUPAK (D-MI) could signal whether pro-life Democratic voters have become more discerning about the candidates from their party who present themselves as “pro-life.”

Though Mr. Stupak was the leader among pro-life Democrats in the US House for years, his commitment to statist social/fiscal policy – notably to government-funded medical care – combined with the pressure of public notoriety and his own (valid) sense of importance trumped his determination to protect innocent preborn boys and girls.

Now one of the most prominent Democraticcandidates seeking nomination to his seat – State Rep. Joel Sheltrown – is calling himself “pro-life,” according to CQ-Roll Call writer Emily Cadei, but is also echoing Rep. Stupak’s big-government stand, especially on health care. He even has, in his state legislative career, turned down participation in state-funded medical insurance offered Michigan state lawmakers – just as Rep. Stupak excluded himself from the Congressional health package – “‘until every Michigan resident has some sort of health care.’”  Rep. Sheltrown has also endorsed the phony Obama executive order covering the ObamaCare plan’s abortion subsidy.

Will voters in Michigan’s 1st District choose to replace Cong. Stupak with his apparent philosophical clone? The primary is in August and pits Rep. Sheltrown against a female abortion advocate backed by NOW, NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, reports Ms. Cadei. The general election is in November, and national Republicans are eying their potential for a pick-up, possibly to be aided by some of those disappointed Democratic pro-life voters.  Mr. Stupak is expected to continue to serve out the remainder of his term.



LAST WEEK WE IDENTIFIED OKLAHOMA GOV. BRAD HENRY as a Republican. He is, in fact, a Democrat. We regret the error.


Succinct Summary

Draft letter initiated by Students for Life of America to be signed by various pro-life organizations (including Life Advocacy Resource Project) and sent to Members of Congress

Last month history was made, but we doubt it was the kind of change pro-life Americans can believe in. Congress passed and Pres. Obama signed a piece of legislation that could very possibly be the most expansive piece of abortion legislation since Roe v. Wade.

For months we urged the Congress to ensure that the Hyde Amendment policy is applied to the healthcare overhaul, so that abortion and abortion coverage would not be subsidized by the American taxpayer. The broadly supported “Stupak Amendment” would have maintained longstanding principles regarding taxpayer funding of abortion coverage. However, Congress fell far short of meeting this minimal standard. Instead, a deal was struck, and an Executive Order was issued.

The Executive Order reiterates the very abortion funding policies we have been fighting against ever since they were added by the Senate in December. We are particularly saddened that some Members of Congress who had joined with us in fighting such onerous policies now point to an Executive Order implementing them as reason for supporting the bill.

Rather than actually applying the Hyde policy to the massive new program, the Executive Order directs the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) to write regulations applying the anti-Life accounting gimmicks and abortion fees mandated by the Act. Specifically Sec. 2 of the Executive Order requires regulations to set up accounting schemes so that taxpayer subsidies may pay for insurance coverage that includes abortion – something the Hyde Amendment prohibits in other federal programs such as Medicaid. The regulations will also implement the abortion surcharge that will require many Americans to pay at least $1 per month into an abortion slush fund to directly pay for elective abortions.

The Executive Order does nothing to mitigate the provisions in the Act that allow the Office of Personnel Management to administer health insurance plans that pay for abortion. This is in direct contradiction to the current Smith Amendment that prohibits OPM from administering Federal Employee Health Plans that cover elective abortion.

Furthermore, it does nothing to stop the various backdoor abortion mandates that could result by way of the Act. For example under language known as the Mikulski Amendment, abortion could be mandated in all insurance plans if HHS simply categorizes elective abortion as a preventive service.

Finally, the Executive Order does not apply the Weldon conscience clause to the bill. This important conscience provision would ensure that state, local and federal governments do not discriminate against healthcare entities on the basis of refusal to provide, pay for or refer for abortion.

The deadly effect of the new healthcare law will not go unnoticed by the American public. Pro-life organizations are working together to ensure that the anti-Life policies included in the Act and reiterated by the Executive Order are removed and that the Hyde Amendment principles are restored. We will not cease in our pursuit to respectfully and deliberately advance the right to Life and protect the vulnerable unborn.


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