Life Advocacy Briefing

December 12, 2011

Senate Victory / Sebelius Trumps F.D.A. / Huh? / Stepping Up
Ready to Tell the Inside Story / The Heart of the Matter
In Support of the Sex-Selection Ban (HR-3541) / Senate Voting Record

Senate Victory

THE U.S. SENATE REJECTED AN OBAMA NOMINEE to the powerful DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Needing 60 votes to invoke cloture – ending debate and bringing forward for a vote – the nomination of Caitlin Halligan fell short on a 54-45 roll call. We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing and encourage our readers to thank Senators (1-202/224-3121) who voted against cloture on Ms. Halligan’s appointment.

The former Solicitor General of New York State, Ms. Halligan was nominated by Mr. Obama to the DC appellate seat left vacant when Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts was elevated from the post.

A commentary written by Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in his Dec. 6, 2011, Washington Update summarizes the problem with Ms. Halligan, whose January nomination had stalled after clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee in March; her initial nomination to the same post in 2010 was withdrawn when the Senate took no action on it.

Mr. Perkins calls Ms. Halligan a “liberal extremist” and notes it was her “radical positions on gun rights, terrorism, marriage and abortion [which] helped to unite a coalition of conservatives and moderates” to block cloture on her nomination.

“Ms. Halligan has repeatedly shown a willingness to take activist positions on the Constitution,” writes Mr. Perkins. He cites “a speech she delivered in 2003,” in which she said, reports Mr. Perkins, “‘Time and time again, we have seen how the dynamics of our rule of law enable enviable social progress and mobility.’ A judge,” notes Mr. Perkins, “should be an impartial arbiter of the facts, not an adjudicator of what constitutes enviable social progress.”

Among her “credentials” on the abortion issue, writes Mr. Perkins on Dec. 5, as solicitor general, Ms. Halligan, “sided with the National Organization for Women [NOW] in a brief that tried to slam pro-life protestors with extortion and racketeering charges under a twisted interpretation of the Hobbs Act. Their claim,” he writes, “was so outside the mainstream that the US Supreme Court threw it out in an 8-to-1 decision.”


Sebelius Trumps F.D.A.

JUST WHEN THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION WAS SET to unleash the “morning-after” abortifacient pill on the market as an off-the-shelf drug, Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened and overruled FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

An FDA spokesman, according to Maggie Fox and Meghan McCarthy reporting for the National Journal, “said she could not recall HHS ever before overruling FDA in this way.”

Mrs. Sebelius issued her own statement, reports the National Journal, saying “she worried that approval would have allowed girls as young as 11 to buy birth control on their own” – without a prescription.

The abortion lobby’s fellow travelers in Congress and the non-profit industry reacted in attitudes ranging from disappointment to outrage. “Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Vanessa Cullins said,” according to the National Journal, “the decision could make it harder to fight the United States’s historically high teen birth and abortion rates.” And we are told Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards is seeking a meeting with her organization’s usual close buddy, Mrs. Sebelius.

We’re not sure this angst is genuine. After all, where would young girls likely go for their still-required prescriptions – their own doctors or the “nice folks” at Planned Parenthood, who can then “serve” their continued need for intervention in their sex lives?

Regardless, it was a good decision, as far as it went. Pulling it from the market would have been even better.



JUST A DAY AFTER GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told ABC’s Jake Tapper – clearly and emphatically – that life begins at “successful implantation,” the supposed frontrunner issued a statement insisting, “As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception.”

Kathleen Gilbert’s report on the controversy in did not indicate whether he also fixed his mislabeling of placental stem cells as “embryonic,” a significant, confusing misnomer.


Stepping Up

THE PRO-LIFE PROTEST at LeRoy Carhart’s late-term abortion shop drew nearly 2,000 demonstrators last Monday morning marking one year – with an estimated death toll of 720 – since the notorious exile transplant opened his doors in Germantown, Maryland.

“The abortion clinic thought the first protest [about a year ago] would also be the last and that the community would soon lose interest,” commented Operation Rescue president Troy Newman in an OR news release. But, he said, “they underestimated the resolve of the good people of Maryland. The numbers standing in support of Life swell by the day. …

“Since [Mr.] Carhart’s arrival in Maryland, the people in that state have risen up and said ‘no’ to his late-term abortion business,” Mr. Newman said. “Members of the faith community have mobilized, a pregnancy referral center has opened directly across the parking lot from the abortion clinics, and sidewalk counselors are dissuading women from abortions on a regular basis, saving countless lives.” Mr. Newman called the response an “amazing work.”


Ready to Tell the Inside Story

SEVEN FORMER EMPLOYEES OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAVE VOLUNTEERED, via a joint letter released last Wednesday, to testify in the Congressional investigation of the abortion behemoth. The letter was addressed to the House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigation, whose chairman, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), announced the probe in September.

The former Planned Parenthood workers, including now pro-life speaker Abby Johnson, wrote, according to John Jalsevac, reporting for, “they ‘have personally witnessed and can testify to the validity of specific concerns raised by [Chairman Stearns]. In particular,” writes Mr. Jalsevac, “they say Planned Parenthood has failed to notify parents when an underage girl is seeking an abortion, to detect or report cases of coerced abortion or sex trafficking, and to properly segregate government funds away from abortion costs, among other violations.”

Noting in the letter that Planned Parenthood receives “‘$1 million per day in federal-state support,’” the seven prospective witnesses opine, writes Mr. Jalsevac, “‘This alone would merit close government attention as to whether or not these funds are being spent appropriately.’”


The Heart of the Matter

Dec. 2, 2011, commentary by Bradley Mattes, executive director, Life Issues Institute

Ohio is the home of our international headquarters and was the first state to introduce a partial-birth abortion ban. Cincinnati is considered to be one of the birthplaces of the pro-life movement. Ohio has established the reputation of taking the lead in protecting unborn babies. The ensuing national debate over partial-birth abortion involved countless pro-life organizations and is credited with shifting a nation’s focus from a “woman’s right to choose” to the humanity of the unborn child.

Now in 2011, I’m excited to tell you the Buckeye State is once again closer than ever to being a major leader and game-changer in safeguarding precious life inside the womb.

Earlier this year, state legislators put forward the Heartbeat Bill – legislation that prohibits abortion when the unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected. The baby’s heart begins to beat between 18 and 28 days after conception, but it can’t be heard in average clinical settings until after the mother has missed her second period (approximately six to eight weeks after fertilization). [Here, Mr. Mattes inserts in an electronic version of his commentary a link to the sound of an unborn baby’s heartbeat at six-and-a-half weeks’ gestation.]

If the Heartbeat Bill becomes law, a vast majority of Ohio’s preborn babies now being killed by abortion will be saved.

Senate president Tom Niehaus announced this week that after a four-month impasse – the Ohio House passed the bill in June – both he and his caucus are ready to move it to a committee hearing. Provided we get support from the state senate and an approval by pro-life Gov. John Kasich, Ohio will soon have one of the most protective laws in the country.

This latest development is great news. But considering the state’s aggressive abortion lobby, as well as national pro-abortion groups, there is certain to be a legal challenge.

Even so, just as the decade-long legal battle over partial-birth abortion focused America’s attention on the humanity of the unborn child late in pregnancy, a similar process with the Heartbeat Bill could change the landscape of abortion discourse in early pregnancy. This could be a huge boost toward ultimate victory of protecting all innocent human life.

Please join me in prayer that the silenced voice of countless victims of abortion will be heard in Ohio’s capitol. Pray that God would move the hearts of the state Senate and governor to make the Heartbeat Bill law.

Every incremental victory in the fight to protect life counts. I’m especially grateful to Janet Porter and others who’ve taken the leadership to pass this vital legislation. And I’m thankful for pro-lifers like you who faithfully speak out for the little ones who cannot speak for themselves.


In Support of the Sex-Selection Ban (HR-3541)

Dec. 6, 2011, PRI Weekly Briefing by Steven W. Mosher, president, Population Research Institute

Nearly nine out of 10 Americans oppose abortion for reasons of sex selection, but such acts of gender violence are neither illegal nor uncommon in our country. Permissive abortion laws and high-resolution ultrasounds make it easier than ever for parents to target and eliminate unwanted daughters (or sons) before birth.

Until the recent spate of negative publicity focused public attention on such crimes, it was not unusual to find abortionists advertising the availability of sex-selective abortions in newspapers such as the New York Times.

Anyone who has lived in and worked with the Asian-American community, as I have, is aware that the practice of selectively aborting female fetuses is disturbingly common. Women and their daughters are both victimized.


Sunita Puri, an Asian-Indian physician, interviewed 65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection. Her study, published this year in Social Science & Medicine, found that a shocking 89% of the women carrying girls aborted during the study, and that nearly half had previously aborted girls. These women told of how they had been mistreated by their families when they were found to be carrying girls, how their husbands or in-laws had shoved them around, kicked them in the abdomen or denied them food, water and rest in an attempt to induce an abortion. Even the women who were carrying boys told of their guilt over past sex-selection abortion and the feeling of being unable to “save” their daughters.

Many would deny that such things happen here, but the numbers do not lie. An analysis of 2000 Census data found clear evidence of sex-selection abortions in what the authors called “son-biased sex ratios,” that is, a higher ratio of boys to girls than would occur in nature.

The 2008 study, by Columbia University economics Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, examined the sex ratio at birth among US-born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian-Indian parents. They found that the first-born children of Asians showed normal sex ratios at birth, roughly 106 girls for every 100 boys. If the first child was a son, the sex ratio of the second-born children was also normal.

But what happened if the first child was a girl? In that case, they found, the sex ratio for second births was 117, meaning that the second child tended to be a boy. To put it another way, roughly 10% of girls had been eliminated.

The authors quite rightly interpret this “deviation in favor of sons” the only way they possibly could, namely, as “evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.” In other words, as early as a decade ago, Asian-American communities in the US were already practicing sex-selective abortions.

Moreover, they went on to note, whether a mother gave birth to a boy could not be predicted by her immigration status. Indeed, mothers who were US citizens were slightly more likely to have sons. This means that sex selection is not a tradition from the old country that easily dies out and further underlines the need to outlaw the [practice].

It is difficult to say how many sex-selection abortions take place in the US each year. But consider that there are 3.9 million Chinese Americans, 2.8 million Asian Indians and 1.6 million Korean Americans living in the United States. The number of Asian Indians, in particular, has doubled over the last two decades. The highly skewed sex ratios found by Almond and Edlund suggest that, among these groups alone, tens of thousands of unborn girls have been eliminated for no other reason than they are considered by some to be the wrong sex.

Those who argue against the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act do so on the grounds that sex selection abortion is not really a problem here. They are wrong.

Even one death is too many.


Senate Voting Record

On Cloture Motion to bring forward the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – Dec. 6, 2011 – Failed 54-45 (needing 60). Democrats in italics, “Independents” marked “I”

Voting “no” / pro-life: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AZ/Kyl & McCain, AR/Boozman, FL/Rubio, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Crapo & Risch, IL/Kirk, IN/Coats & Lugar, IA/Grassley, KS/Moran & Roberts, KY/McConnell & Paul, LA/Vitter, ME/Collins & Snowe, MA/Brown, MS/Cochran & Wicker, MO/Blunt, NE/Johanns, NV/Heller, NH/Ayotte, NC/Burr, ND/Hoeven, OH/Portman, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, PA/Toomey, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/Alexander & Corker, TX/Cornyn & Hutchison, UT/Lee, WI/Johnson, WY/Barrasso & Enzi.

Voting “yes” / pro-abortion: AK/Begich & Murkowski, AR/Pryor, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CO/Bennet & Udall, CT/Blumenthal & Lieberman(I), DE/Carper & Coons, FL/Nelson, HI/Akaka & Inouye, IL/Durbin, IA/Harkin, LA/Landrieu, MD/Cardin & Mikulski, MA/Kerry, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/Franken & Klobuchar, MO/McCaskill, MT/Baucus & Tester, NE/Nelson, NV/Reid, NH/Shaheen, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman & Udall, NY/Gillibrand & Schumer, NC/Hagan, ND/Conrad, OH/Brown, OR/Merkley & Wyden, PA/Casey, RI/Reed & Whitehouse, SD/Johnson, VT/Leahy & Sanders(I), VA/Warner & Webb, WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Manchin & Rockefeller, WI/Kohl.

Voting “present”: UT/Hatch.