Life Advocacy Briefing

May 28, 2012

Observing Memorial Day / Stop this Judge! / Kudos to Rep. Smith / Welcome, Chen!
Good News from Gallup / Abortion Pops Up Everywhere! / Tightening the Regs in Mississippi
Even in Maine! / Vetoes in Minnesota / Barack Obama and Live-Birth Abortion
The Trouble with Andrew Hurwitz

Observing Memorial Day

FOR THE RIGHT TO READ & TO WRITE, TO LISTEN & TO ADVOCATE, TO DECIDE, for the American way of life, we thank our fallen heroes and other veterans and active-duty personnel and their families for their sacrifices and their dedication to freedom. God has blessed America in her valiant defenders.


Stop this Judge!

POISED FOR ACTION ANY DAY on the Senate Executive Calendar is the nomination of Andrew David Hurwitz of Arizona to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Hurwitz may well be characterized – from a pro-life viewpoint – as the worst Obama nominee yet. We ask our readers to contact Senators’ offices, during their Memorial Day break, via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 or to ask for a “no” vote on the Hurwitz nomination if you get to see a Senator in a parade or visit with him or her while in the home state.

For further information about Mr. Hurwitz, we have reprinted at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing an analysis from Family Research Council, published in March and current today, as Mr. Hurwitz is a clear and present danger to restoration of the right to Life to our laws and to the lives of countless children in the western United States.


Kudos to Rep. Smith

WE OFFER OUR CONGRATULATIONS to US Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on his selection by Americans United for Life for AUL’s 2012 Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award. Congratulations as well to AUL for making such an apt choice.

The award will be presented Thursday at a dinner in Washington. “The award,” explains AUL, “was established to honor an individual who demonstrates outstanding leadership in ensuring that everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law.”

Rep. Smith is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus. He is one of the most articulate and bold spokesmen for Life in the US House and works tirelessly behind the scenes and out front to advance the pro-life cause.

As chairman of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Smith has recently championed the rescue of blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng from persecution in Red China. Chen’s horrific treatment by Chinese authorities resulted from his work as a self-trained lawyer in trying to expose and stop the horrific practice of forced abortion, even of late-term babies, in his province. Without Mr. Smith’s advocacy, Chen might well have disappeared into Beijing’s version of the gulag, or worse.


Welcome, Chen!

WE PRAISE GOD FOR HIS DELIVERY OF CHEN GUANGCHENG from the continent-wide gulag of Red China. The pro-life hero landed in New York City a week ago, along with his wife and children. Left behind and at risk were his mother, brother and nephew.

Chen expressed concern about possible reprisals against his family members during a welcoming gathering at New York University, which offered him a fellowship to spring him out of his native land. And after thanking “‘common citizens of the United States who … expressed their support’” in bringing him to freedom, he said, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, “‘We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. I hope everybody works with me to promote justice and fairness in China.’”

Chen is best known for his efforts, as a self-trained lawyer, to end the practice of forced sterilization and abortion in his home province, efforts for which he was imprisoned five years in the brutal regime.


Good News from Gallup

GALLUP RELEASED ITS ANNUAL ABORTION POLL last week, showing a significant shift toward the “pro-life” position. The poll was taken May 3-6 by telephone interviews of 1,024 randomly chosen adult Americans; respondents were not screened for voting eligibility or likelihood.

According to Gallup’s summary paragraph, “The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as ‘pro-choice’ is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves ‘pro-life,’” reports Gallup, “one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.”

Looking at the self-labeling through a partisan filter, Gallup found, “The decline in Americans’ self-identification as ‘pro-choice’ is seen across the three US political groups.

“Since 2001, the majority of Republicans have consistently taken the pro-life position but by a gradually increasing margin over ‘pro-choice.’ That gap expanded further this year,” writes Gallup spokesman Lydia Saad, “with the percentage of Republicans identifying as pro-life increasing to 72% from 68% last May, and those identifying as pro-choice dropping to 22% from 28%. …

“The percentage of political independents identifying as pro-choice is 10 points lower today [at 41%] than in May 2011,” writes Ms. Saad, “while the percentage pro-life is up by six points [to 47%]. As a result,” she notes, “pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among this important swing political group for only the second time since 2001, with the first occurring in 2009. …

“Democrats’ views on abortion have changed the least over the past 12 years,” reports Ms. Saad, “with roughly 60% [actually 58%] calling themselves pro-choice and about a third [34%] pro-life.” Gallup’s chart showing Democrats’ self-label on abortion shows a “pro-choice” jump from 60 to 68% in May 2011, with the same label plunging to 58% a year later.

Gallup did not venture to assess reasons for the shift beyond citing recent issues in the news, but Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins tackled the question in his May 23 Washington Update: “In the face of the most aggressive, pro-abortion Administration in history, more Americans are rallying to the defense of the unborn than ever before,” he writes. “The President’s radical abortion agenda is finally putting a face on the ‘choice’ movement, and it’s not pretty. …

 “What we’re witnessing is the nationwide backlash to three years of Planned Parenthood-style governing,” Mr. Perkins asserts.

Mr. Perkins notes the reason given by the CEO of National Abortion Rights Action League in announcing her forthcoming retirement, as we reported last week – in Mr. Perkins’s words, “because the pro-abortion crowd is getting too old.”  Mr. Perkins insists, “It’s not the people who are getting old but the message that is.”


Abortion Pops Up Everywhere!

THANKS ARE DUE to Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) for his leadership in the Appropriations Committee, where in mid-May he successfully advanced an amendment to block rules by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency offering abortions to illegal immigrant detainees.

The amendment tracked the language of HR-5646, the Homeland Security Respect for Life Act filed May 8 by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI).

The limitation permits federal funds to be used for abortion only in a case of rape or “in a case where a pregnant detainee suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant detainee in danger of death unless an abortion is performed … .” It would also prohibit the Dept. of Homeland Security from “requir[ing] any person to perform or facilitate in any way the performance of any abortion.”


Tightening the Regs in Mississippi

MISSISSIPPI GOV. PHIL BRYANT IS CONTINUING to rack up a pro-life record and turn his state’s laws into a model of under-Roe protections for innocent human life.

After approving legislation tightening abortuary regulations, as we previously reported, the first-term Republican has now signed Americans United for Life’s Child Protection Act, which, reports AUL, “helps ensure that all cases of suspected sexual abuse of minor girls are reported to state authorities and imposes strict penalties upon anyone who is found to be circumventing or attempting to circumvent these reporting requirements.”

But it goes beyond that. The new Mississippi law, reports AUL, “requir[es] that forensic tissue samples be turned over to state officials when an abortion is [committed] on a girl under the age of 14, … provid[ing] police and prosecutors with the evidence necessary to punish abusers and protect young victims from further abuse.” Looks to us as though that last provision calls the bluff of abortion supporters – including faint-of-heart “pro-life” politicians – who demand that the law exclude babies conceived in rape from the protection we seek in law.


Even in Maine!

MAINE’s NEW G.O.P. GOVERNOR SIGNED A BUDGET INTO LAW last week which excludes Planned Parenthood from state funding.

“‘[A total of] $400,000 was removed from the 2013 budget here in Maine,’” declared Teresa McAnn-Tumidajski, executive director of Maine Right to Life, quoted by Charlie Butts for The pro-life leader attributed the move to “‘Gov. Paul LePage and the lawmakers who voted to support the defunding of [Family Planning Council of Maine] and Planned Parenthood.’”

The slash was part of an $80 million array in budget cuts to meet a revenue shortfall.

The pro-life spokesman offered assurance that Maine women will not go wanting for services. “‘It just means they will not be available through that particular group,’” she said in the Butts story. “‘There are services available elsewhere throughout the state and throughout the country.’”


Vetoes in Minnesota

MINNESOTA’s GOVERNOR, ON THE OTHER HAND, is pursuing a consistent pro-death pattern, earlier this month vetoing an urgently needed measure to ban webcam, or telemed, abortions.

A former US Congressman and Senator now in his second year as Minnesota’s chief executive, Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed seven pro-life measures, including, this month, a proposal subjecting abortuaries to licensure and inspections.

“‘He claimed that we were singling out abortion clinics for special regulations that don’t apply to anyone else,’” commented Bill Poehler of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, quoted by Charlie Butts in “‘But the truth is just the opposite,’” he said. “‘In Minnesota, outpatient surgical centers are licensed and inspected by the state’” – unless their principal business is abortion.

The webcam bill, writes Mr. Butts, “would have banned … a procedure in which an abortionist has an online meeting with an abortion patient, dispenses RU-486 with the push of a button, then sends the woman or girl home to have the abortion without medical assistance.” The long-distance scheme, in which the doctor and his customer are never in the same office, saves money for abortuaries, permits the expansion of chemical abortion to satellite shops without the presence or supervision of a doctor, and leaves the aborting mother on her own.

Gov. Dayton’s shameful rebuff of such reasonable, urgently needed legislation is a sad reminder of the utter, cruel coldness of the abortion industry and its fellow travelers in powerful places.


Barack Obama and Live-Birth Abortion

BRILLIANT PRO-LIFE BLOGGER JILL STANEK HAS APPLIED her direct experience with then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) in critiquing a recently released biography of the President, The Amateur, by Ed Klein.

We encourage readers who plan to take in Mr. Klein’s book to read first Mrs. Stanek’s analysis for the real facts about Mr. Obama and his opposition to protecting babies who survive abortions. As the nurse who first blew the whistle on live-birth abortions in Illinois, Mrs. Stanek knows and has often written the truth about Mr. Obama’s shameful record in this regard.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Klein did not use either Mrs. Stanek’s writings or the public record in researching this topic.

In any case, especially as Mr. Obama seeks re-election, pro-life citizens would be wise to check out the true Obama record on such a dramatic manifestation of the pro-death ethic.


The Trouble with Andrew Hurwitz

From the March 2, 2012, Washington Update by Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council

Being “the architect” of the Roe v. Wade ruling has its perks – like a lifetime appointment on the US Court of Appeals.

Most Americans have probably never heard of Andrew Hurwitz, but his role in one of the greatest legal travesties in our history is undeniable. The President wants to reward Hurwitz by promoting him from the Arizona Supreme Court to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But so far, his abortion resume has complicated matters.

More than a few eyebrows were raised in his 2002 law review article, in which Hurwitz brags about his part in drafting two opinions that the US Supreme Court used to frame its Roe v. Wade decision. “Justice Stewart (my future boss) jokingly referred to me as “the clerk who wrote the [pro-abortion] Newman decision.”

When pressed about his pride in that decision during his Senate confirmation hearing, Hurwitz refused to answer. “I do not think it appropriate for a former law clerk to comment on the correctness of an opinion written by a judge during the clerkship term,” he said to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). That’s odd, since he has continued to take public credit for his influence in the case.

“Whether or not it’s fair to fault Hurwitz for his role as a young law clerk, it’s certainly proper in the confirmation process to hold him accountable for his ideological obtuseness three decades later,” Ed Whelan* told the Daily Caller.

Five [Judiciary Committee] Republicans agreed (Senators Grassley, Sessions, John Cornyn [TX], Orrin Hatch [UT] and Mike Lee [UT]) and voted to reject the nominee. Unfortunately they were outnumbered 13 to 5, with Republican Senators Tom Coburn (OK), Jon Kyl (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) voting to send Hurwitz to the Senate floor.

Some of our friends argue that a President is entitled to his nominees. I agree that the Senate shouldn’t obstruct the process – but this is a matter of judicial philosophy, not legislative procedure.

Experts on both sides of the aisle agree: “You will be hard-pressed to find a constitutional law professor, even among those who support the idea of constitutional protection for the right to choose, who will embrace the opinion itself. … Roe is barely coherent.”**

Stop Andrew Hurwitz from bringing his abortion baggage to the 9th Circuit Court. Contact your Senators and ask them to oppose his nomination!

*Mr. Whelan is president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center and writes their Bench Memo blog, frequently featuring instances of liberal judicial activism.

**Quote from University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt, writing in the Washington Post on Jan. 22, 2003.