Life Advocacy Briefing

October 31, 2011

Murder at the House of Horrors

TWO PHILADELPHIA ABORTUARY WORKERS PLEADED GUILTY to third-degree murder Thursday, reports MaryClaire Dale for Associated Press (AP), “in deaths at a Philadelphia clinic where seven babies were allegedly killed with scissors and a patient died from an overdose of painkillers.”

The so-called clinic was the prosecutor-named “house of horrors” operated by Kermit Gosnell, who is being held on $2 million bail. Horrific conditions at the shop were discovered last year when police entered to investigate a claim related to drug trafficking. What they found shocked them, seared the consciences of people all over America and spurred introduction of abortuary clinic regulations in several states which have lacked them. Pennsylvania did have some clinic regulations, it was noted at the time, but inspections were suspended several years ago under then-Gov. Tom Ridge (R), reportedly for political reasons.

Mr. Gosnell and nine of his employees “were charged earlier this year,” writes Ms. Dale, “after a grand jury report detailed macabre conditions at the West Philadelphia clinic. [Mr.] Gosnell, the only doctor,” reports AP, “and other staff are accused of performing illegal late-term abortions and killing babies born alive by severing their spinal cords with scissors,” a method reminiscent of partial-birth abortion but in this case committed on babies fully born in the abortion process.

The two who pleaded guilty Thursday are the first to have done so, although one worker pleaded guilty to perjury last month. According to Operation Rescue, one of the two who entered pleas Thursday is the first abortuary worker ever found guilty of murder in the death of a baby.

One of the workers Thursday, reports Ms. Dale, “admitted her involvement in the death of one baby.” The other, according to AP, “pleaded guilty in the February 2009 death of … a Bhutanese immigrant” woman who was a customer at the “clinic.” She was apparently killed by drug overdose.

“As disturbing as this case is,” noted Operation Rescue president Troy Newman in a news release, “we know that what went on at [Mr.] Gosnell’s abortion mill is little different [from] what goes on at late-term abortion mills around the country. We look forward to a full airing of the evidence in a court of law so Americans can come face-to-face with the atrocity of abortion.”


Kansas Scandal Reflects on Sebelius

HOW COULD SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS BE SHREDDED in 2005 by state bureaucrats in Kansas, right in the opening stages of a 2004-initiated criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood? Someone – perhaps in Congress – ought to ask Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that question. She was governor of Kansas at the time and a known confederate of the late George Tiller and of the abortion industry in general.

Revelation of the Kansas Health Department’s underhanded protection of Planned Parenthood came two weeks ago, disrupting the already protracted criminal case in which Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri is charged with some 107 criminal counts, including 23 related to falsification of records; the records in question reportedly were the ones now discovered as having been shredded by Sebelius apparatchiks.

“Judge Stephen Tatum delayed the preliminary hearing [last] Monday,” reports Jeremy Kryn for, “after last week’s news of the destruction of the records. Then-Atty. General Phill Kline had subpoenaed them in 2004,” writes Mr. Kryn, “in his investigations of the failure to report 166 potential cases of child rape.”

Gen. Kline, now a visiting Assistant Law Professor at Liberty University, called the revelation “‘remarkable. The Sebelius Administration fought us in court,’” recalled Mr. Kline, quoted by Mr. Kryn. “‘These records were relevant,’” he said. “‘They destroyed the originals without telling us.’” He told Mr. Kryn, however, “‘Copies can still be used by the prosecution. Where are those?’”

A new hearing date has been set for Nov. 9. Perhaps by then the prosecution will be able to secure the copies. Meanwhile, Operation Rescue, which has focused a bright spotlight on Planned Parenthood in Kansas and on the stalled prosecution, last week filed an open records demand with the Kansas governor’s office and the state health department, “seeking public records,” OR announced in a news release, “that might reveal who was involved in shredding [the] incriminating evidence. … There is no way,” said OR’s Troy Newman in the release, “that this was routine evidence destruction, as Planned Parenthood attorneys are so desperately trying to make us believe. …

“Nothing less than millions of dollars in tax funding and the future of Planned Parenthood as an organization are at stake in this case,” asserts Mr. Newman, “because if Planned Parenthood is convicted, it will no longer qualify for Title X [Ten] money.” And the disqualification of the Kansas/Mid-Missouri Planned Parenthood would have reverberations throughout government as the public grasps the scandal of the Title X rip-off.


Kansas Finalizes Clinic Regs

THE KANSAS HEALTH DEPARTMENT – now under Gov. Sam Brownback (R), formerly a pro-life US Senator – is adjusting its new clinic regulations in hope of appeasing US District Judge Carlos Murguia, who blocked the pending rules from taking effect in July.

Relaxation of some of the requirements came in response to a lawsuit challenging the regulations and to public comments filed as part of the rules’ adoption process. These revised regulations involve such matters as prescribed room size, room temperature and required medications and equipment.

“But the bulk of the original provisions remain,” reports Roxana Hegeman for Associated Press (AP), “including rules that require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic and that require patient medical records to be available at the clinic for state health department officials to review.”

Attorneys representing two plaintiff abortuaries – Bonnie Scott Jones and Cheryl Pilate – both indicated, according to AP, they were “‘considering options.’”


Benefits of Abortion Regulations: The Proof Is In

THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE HAS PUBLISHED A REPORT on tightening abortion clinic regulations, finding benefits in lowering abortion rates.

“The article analyzes the impact of a Texas law,” writes Michael New, writing for National Review, “which required that all abortions which take place at or after 16 weeks of gestation be performed in either a hospital or an ambulatory surgical center. Ambulatory surgical centers” under Texas regulation, he notes, “must adhere to more rigorous staffing, reporting and facility structure requirements than free-standing abortion clinics.”

Apparently – and predictably – the number of free-standing late-term abortion mills dropped dramatically in Texas. “Not surprisingly,” writes Mr. New, “the number of abortions performed in Texas at or after 16 weeks of gestation fell by 88%.” Mr. New grants that the number of out-of-state late-term abortions committed on Texas residents increased, but, he writes, “the out-of-state increase did not offset the in-state decline.

“The year the law took effect,” writes Mr. New, reporting on the New England Journal article, “saw over 2,000 fewer late-term abortions (both in-state and out-of-state) performed on Texas residents.”

Mr. New cites positive experience with abortion clinic regulation statutes in other states as well, noting that Planned Parenthood in Arizona “announced they would stop providing abortions at seven of their 10 clinics” after abortion clinic restrictions were enacted in 2009.

“Similarly, supporters of legal abortion stated,” writes Mr. New, “that Virginia’s new abortion clinic regulations would result in the closure of 17 of Virginia’s 21 abortion clinics. While this may well prove to be an exaggeration,” Mr. New writes, “it does demonstrate the concern that supporters of legal abortion have about the potency of clinic regulations.”

Mr. New notes further that courts “have been willing to uphold clinic regulations in many states.” And we would add, the introduction and consideration of clinic regulation proposals offer pro-life lawmakers a fine public forum for putting the abortion industry on the defensive about the troubling conditions in their shops and for raising the overarching question of protecting preborn life.

If abortion advocates want to claim the respectability of “health care,” they must be prepared to accept the requirement that they adhere to the straightforward medical standards the public easily grasps and supports. When a lawmaker can responsibly assert – as can be done in some states – that the state imposes more health and safety regulations on veterinary clinics than on abortuaries, favorable public opinion is guaranteed.


As We Promised …

WE PUBLISH THIS WEEK the final House roll call on the Protect Life Act, HR-358, which passed the House earlier this month. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), bars taxpayer subsidy of abortion – directly or by subsidizing insurance exchanges – under ObamaCare. The motion to recommit, whose roll call we publish this week, was an unsuccessful attempt by House abortion advocates, led in this instance by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), to block consideration of the bill. We publish also more excerpts from the House floor speeches by advocates of HR-358.


More Debate Excerpts on Protect Life Bill

Excerpts from the Oct. 13, 2011, House debate on HR-358, statutorily applying Hyde Amendment principles and medical conscience protections to ObamaCare, transcribed by Life Advocacy from C-SPAN television coverage.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ): It’s been the practice of this House for decades to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion except in rare cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. … So I think it is prudent – what the House is doing today – to ensure that this language goes into legislation to make sure that federal funds are not used for abortion services and to carry on the will of this body. For that, I urge support of the bill.

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI): Really, what we’re seeing, folks, is sleight of hand. They want to talk about jobs, and they want to talk about big oil, because they don’t want to talk about the preciousness of Life and how this procedure takes the life of an innocent. It’s been labeled an extreme bill, when actually this is a reasonable step that codifies what this President says is his own position. … The American people that are watching this right now – they need to understand, this is about Life and protecting that life and making sure that our healthcare providers have the ability to say “no” to a procedure that they don’t want to do.

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK): We’re a nation that values all Life. When a bridge is under construction and a migratory bird nest with eggs is discovered, the Fish & Wildlife Migratory Bird Treaty Act forces the delay of construction until the birds have hatched and flown away. Why? Because Life’s important to us. When a baby’s born premature, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to save that child, because each life is important to us. We have one glaring and obvious exception to this passion for life: abortion. For some reason, we see the life of a duck in its egg as more valuable than an infant in the womb. For some reason, we think that a baby born five weeks early is worthy of hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical technology, but if that same mother were to hire a doctor to reach into the womb and kill that child with scissors five weeks before delivery, some would demand her choice must be protected. What our founding fathers considered self-evident truth – that we’ve been endowed by our Creator with certain rights beginning with Life – is now a topic open for discussion in our modern-day ethic. I still believe in the value of the instruction given to leaders thousands of years ago in Proverbs 31: “Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak and judge fairly.”

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX): The reason I’m talking tonight is the right for the unborn. We were told that when we did this healthcare bill, “Don’t worry about it; we’ll do the executive order, because we’re going to take the Stupak/Pitts Amendment out.” The truth of the matter – if we were going to do the executive order, why didn’t we go ahead and pass the Stupak/Pitts Amendment? The reason is because we know that inside that bill – in several paragraphs, in several areas – is the ability for taxpayers’ money to be used for abortions. In fact, according to Douglas Johnson, the federal legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, ObamaCare contains multiple provisions to provide authorizations for subsidies for abortions, both implicit and explicit.


House Voting Record: Motion to Recommit HR-358

HR-358, Motion to Recommit, to thwart consideration of the ‘Protect Life Act’ Barring Tax-Subsidized Coverage of Abortion under ObamaCare – Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 – Motion Failed 173-249 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “no” / pro-Life: AL/Aderholt, Bachus, Bonner, Brooks, Roby, Rogers; AK/Young; AZ/Flake, Franks, Gosar, Quayle, Schweikert; AR/Crawford, Griffin, Ross, Womack; CA/Bilbray, Bono-Mack, Calvert, Campbell, Denham, Dreier, Gallegly, Herger, Hunter, Issa, Lewis, Lungren, McCarthy, McClintock, McKeon, Gary Miller, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce; CO/Coffman, Gardner, Lamborn, Tipton; FL/Adams, Bilirakis, Buchanan, Crenshaw, Diaz-Balart, Mack, Mica, Miller, Nugent, Posey, Rivera, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Southerland, Stearns, Webster, West, Young; GA/Broun, Gingrey, Graves, Kingston, Price, Austin Scott, Westmoreland, Woodall; ID/Labrador, Simpson; IL/Biggert, Costello, Dold, Hultgren, Johnson, Kinzinger, Lipinski, Manzullo, Roskam, Schilling, Schock, Shimkus, Walsh; IN/Bucshon, Burton, Pence, Rokita, Stutzman, Young; IA/King, Latham; KS/Huelskamp, Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder; KY/Davis, Guthrie, Rogers, Whitfield; LA/Alexander, Boustany, Cassidy, Fleming, Landry, Scalise; MD/Bartlett, Harris; MI/Amash, Benishek, Huizenga, McCotter, Miller, Rogers, Upton, Walberg; MN/Cravaack, Kline, Paulsen, Peterson; MS/Harper, Nunnelee, Palazzo; MO/Akin, Emerson, Graves, Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer; MT/Rehberg; NE/Fortenberry, Smith, Terry; NV/Amodei, Heck; NH/Bass, Guinta; NJ/Frelinghuysen, Garrett, Lance, LoBiondo, Runyan, Smith; NM/Pearce; NY/Buerkle, Gibson, Grimm, Hanna, Hayworth, King, Reed, Turner; NC/Coble, Ellmers, Foxx, Jones, McHenry, McIntyre, Myrick, Shuler; ND/Berg; OH/Austria, Chabot, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, LaTourette, Latta, Renacci, Schmidt, Stivers, Tiberi, Turner; OK/Boren, Cole, Lankford, Lucas, Sullivan; OR/Walden; PA/Altmire, Barletta, Critz, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, Kelly, Marino, Meehan, Murphy, Pitts, Platts, Shuster, Thompson; SC/Duncan, Gowdy, Mulvaney, Tim Scott, Wilson; SD/Noem; TN/Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fincher, Fleischmann, Roe; TX/Barton, Brady, Burgess, Canseco, Conaway, Cuellar, Culberson, Farenthold, Flores, Gohmert, Granger, Hall, Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Marchant, McCaul, Neugebauer, Olson, Poe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry; UT/Bishop, Chaffetz; VA/Cantor, Forbes, Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, Rigell, Wittman, Wolf; WA/Hastings, Herrera-Beutler, McMorris-Rodgers, Reichert; WV/Capito, McKinley, Rahall; WI/Duffy, Petri, Ribble, Ryan, Sensenbrenner; WY/Lummis.

Voting “yes” / anti-Life: AL/Sewell; AZ/Grijalva, Pastor; CA/Baca, Bass, Becerra, Berman, Capps, Cardoza, Chu, Costa, Davis, Eshoo, Farr, Filner, Garamendi, Hahn, Honda, Lee, Lofgren, Matsui, McNerney, George Miller, Napolitano, Pelosi, Richardson, Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Stark, Thompson, Waters, Waxman, Woolsey; CO/DeGette, Perlmutter; CT/Courtney, DeLauro, Himes, Larson, Murphy; DE/Carney; FL/Brown, Castor, Deutch, Hastings, Wasserman-Schultz; GA/Barrow, Bishop, Johnson, Lewis, David Scott; HI/Hanabusa, Hirono; IL/Davis, Gutierrez, Jackson, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky; IN/Carson, Donnelly, Visclosky; IA/Boswell, Braley, Loebsack; KY/Chandler, Yarmuth; LA/Richmond; ME/Michaud, Pingree; MD/Cummings, Edwards, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, VanHollen; MA/Capuano, Keating, Lynch, Markey, McGovern, Neal, Olver, Tierney, Tsongas; MI/Clarke, Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Levin, Peters; MN/Ellison, McCollum, Walz; MS/Thompson; MO/Carnahan, Clay, Cleaver; NV/Berkley; NJ/Andrews, Holt, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Rothman, Sires; NM/Heinrich, Lujan; NY/Ackerman, Bishop, Clarke, Crowley, Engel, Higgins, Hinchey, Hochul, Israel, Lowey, Maloney, McCarthy, Meeks, Nadler, Owens, Rangel, Serrano, Tonko, Towns, Velazquez; NC/Butterfield, Kissell, Miller, Price, Watt; OH/Fudge, Kaptur, Kucinich, Ryan, Sutton; OR/Blumenauer, DeFazio, Schrader; PA/Brady, Doyle, Fattah, Schwartz; RI/Cicilline & Langevin; SC/Clyburn; TN/Cohen, Cooper; TX/ Doggett, Al Green, Gene Green, Hinojosa, Jackson-Lee, E.B. Johnson; UT/Matheson; VT/Welch; VA/Connolly, Moran, Scott; WA/Dicks, Inslee, Larsen, McDermott, Smith; WI/Baldwin, Kind, Moore.

Not voting: AZ/Giffords; CO/Polis; FL/Wilson; MA/Frank; MI/Camp; MN/Bachmann; NY/Slaughter; OH/Boehner; TX/Carter, Gonzalez, Paul & Reyes