Life Advocacy Briefing

February 11, 2013

Inestimable Loss: Michael Schwartz, R.I.P. / Bishops Conference Rejects Mandate Revision
Good News! / Stopping ObamaCare’s Abortion Subsidies / Congratulations, Loretta
Colorado Prenatal Death Snags Head & Heart of CNN Host / Always Quoteworthy
Sen. McConnell re Roe’s 40th / March for Life Speech: Rep. Chris Smith

Inestimable Loss: Michael Schwartz, R.I.P.

THE PRO-LIFE/FAMILY COMMUNITY HAS SUFFERED A GREAT LOSS in the passing of Michael Schwartz, long-time chief of staff to Oklahoma’s GOP Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn.

Mike was more than a friend to us at Life Advocacy; he was the founder of Life Advocacy Alliance, an arm of our organization, and for nearly two years networked local pro-life partnering organizations on our behalf and represented us on Capitol Hill. He created and wrote Life Advocacy Briefing in 1994-1995.

He was diagnosed two years ago with ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease – breaking the hearts of countless friends and co-workers in Christ’s universal church. We are among the mourners in his passing Feb. 3 at the age of 63, at the same time quietly celebrating his passage to eternal life with his Lord Jesus.

Though his career path and accomplishments are long and detailed, no biographical listing could approach giving our readers even a glimmer of the impact Mike has had on the cause of Life, in strategic thinking, in leadership development, in peacemaking, in advocacy both for principle and for persuasive communication. Most of all, Mike was a quiet, inspiring mentor to countless aspiring leaders whose lives have been enriched forever by his caring, patient tutelage and sterling example.

Much has been written, much said, none of it adequate to estimate the depth of our collective loss. We commend to our readers the moving tribute Dr. Coburn delivered in the Senate late last year when Mike’s illness forced him to leave his heroic daily toil on the Coburn staff. The video of Dr. Coburn’s speech can be viewed at our Internet website,


Bishops Conference Rejects Mandate Revision

WHEN THE OBAMA REGIME RELEASED ITS REVISION to its abortifacient/sterilization coverage mandate Feb. 1, the media reported it, essentially, as problem solved, and the abortion lobby welcomed it as a “sensible compromise.”

Pro-life/family groups’ responses ranged from skeptical to denouncing, as it was quickly apparent that the mandate had been tweaked – little more than cosmetically – for the second time since the Obama Regime first issued regulations forcing employers to furnish free contraceptives to workers and their dependents. “Phony compromise,” they charge, and rightly so.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – powerfully influential and so outspoken on the first iteration of the mandate – withheld opinion until carefully studying the 70-page regulation revision but has now joined the chorus against the modification, concluding, reports John Jalsevac for, “that [the rule adjustments] ‘fall short’ of addressing the religious freedom concerns raised by the bishops.”

The USCCB president, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, reports Mr. Jalsevac, “listed three key areas of concern in the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate rules: the narrow understanding of a religious ministry; compelling church ministries to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching; and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners.”

(We note that several for-profit business plaintiffs – and not just overtly religious institutions – have secured temporary injunctions in litigation against the mandate, and we are encouraged that the USCCB – rather than speaking only to the interests of the established church – has cited the conscience rights of commercial entities as well.)

“Cardinal Dolan said,” reports LifeSiteNews, “the new regulations seem to address one part of the church’s concern over the definition of a church ministry but stressed that ‘the Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries. … It appears to offer second-class status,’” he said, according to Mr. Jalsevac, “‘to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities. HHS offers what it calls an “accommodation” rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches. …

“‘Throughout the past year,’” he said, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions.’”

We have another solution to offer: Ladies and gentlemen of the United States Congress, repeal ObamaCare and the outrageous abortifacient mandate and abortion subsidies with it!


Good News!

THE WEEK AFTER THE ROE v. WADE ANNIVERSARY could be called “closure week” in America’s abortion industry.

When pro-life activists in Greensboro, North Carolina, arrived Saturday, Feb. 2, at A Woman’s Choice abortuary, reports, they found the doors locked and could see that the furnishings had disappeared. Police confirmed that A Woman’s Choice would not be reopening.

Earlier in the week, notes LifeSiteNews, Capital Care Network closed its abortuary in Lima, Ohio.

“‘Today there are just 654 surgical abortion clinics left in the US,’” said Operation Rescue (OR) president Troy Newman, quoted in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘down from a high of 2,176 in 1991. Every time an abortion clinic closes, lives are saved,’” he declared.

Now word has come directly from OR that Womancare abortuary in Livonia, Michigan, and one of two Whole Women’s Health abortion shops in Minneapolis have closed, bringing the count down to 652. The closure in Minneapolis appears to have been motivated by financial considerations. The abortion shop in Livonia was shut down by its owner, notorious abortionist Alberto Hodari, upon his welcome retirement from his bloody trade.  Mr. Hodari was one of two Michigan abortionists to announce retirement last week. Let us pray that more will follow their lead.


Stopping ObamaCare’s Abortion Subsidies

STATE GOVERNMENTS ARE ACTING IN INCREASING NUMBERS TO PROTECT their citizens from being forced to subsidize abortion under ObamaCare.

According to figures by the Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood, reports Catholic News Agency (CNA), some 20 states “have passed legislation to restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans offered through the healthcare exchanges. Some states,” notes CNA, “require abortion coverage to be purchased separately so as to avoid using taxpayer money to fund abortions.” Still others discriminate; according to the CNA report, they “prohibit abortion coverage in the exchange health plans except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.”

Eight of the states, reports CNA, go all the way, “‘restricting insurance coverage of abortion’” altogether, to quote Guttmacher, “in private plans, including those in the exchanges. In addition,” reports CNA, “18 states limit ‘abortion coverage in insurance plans for public employees,’ [quoting Guttmacher] and 13 states have more than one kind of restriction.”


Governor to Sign Abortion Coverage Ban

ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE BEEBE (D) ANNOUNCED last Thursday, he would sign a major pro-life bill which has cleared both houses of the GOP-controlled legislature.

The measure he said he will sign, report Andrew DeMillo and Michael Stratford for Associated Press (AP), “prohibit[s] insurers from covering most abortions in an exchange created under the [ObamaCare] federal healthcare law.” Exceptions are provided to protect the life of a mother and to discriminate against prenatal children who were conceived during a sex crime.


Congratulations, Loretta

KUDOS TO PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST (and Life Advocacy support team member) Loretta Koester of Teutopolis, Illinois, on winning the Citizen of the Year award presented at the county Chamber of Commerce banquet Jan. 19 by the Effingham Daily News (EDN) in east central Illinois.

Effusively cataloguing Mrs. Koester’s “nearly 40-year dedication to the pro-life movement,” the newspaper reported the award recipient almost did not attend the banquet at which the award was presented. Family and friends had kept the honor a secret until the morning of the event, when they realized they had to reveal it in order to get her there. What was the conflict? “Tireless hours,” writes EDN’s Cathy Thoele, “setting up for the annual Right to Life breakfast” which was scheduled for the next day, necessitating her rising at 5 a.m.

Mrs. Koester told banquet guests “her desire to protect the unborn was instilled by her father,” reports the EDN. “‘Ever since I was a little girl, my father always taught us it was wrong to harm another human being, let alone a helpless one,’ she said. ‘I had to do something.’”

The remarkable news story relates that Mrs. Koester “helped start the local Right to Life organization and years later the Family Life Center dedicated to helping those faced with unplanned pregnancies. In addition,” writes Ms. Thoele, “she has devoted most of her time to organizing monthly prayer vigils, events and trips.” Such admiration from a secular community newspaper!

We report this award not only because of our delight in seeing one of our supporters honored but especially to encourage our readers with the remarkable good news that a previously unsung worker in the pro-life vineyard could become so beautifully and publicly lauded among the giants of her community, drawing honor to her pro-life work and inspiring others to stand out for Life by selflessly and lovingly serving those who cannot fight for themselves.


Colorado Prenatal Death Snags Head & Heart of CNN Host

THE DEATH OF A PRENATAL BABY NEAR BIRTH has cracked open – even if in a limited way – the heart and mind of CNN host Erin Burnett, who used the tragedy as focus of her story last week on the Colorado legislature’s rejection of fetal homicide legislation.

Though most states in America have enacted laws providing criminal and/or civil penalties in situations where an unborn baby is killed in an accident or in an assault upon the mother, Colorado continues to reject the pleas of those seeking justice.

Ms. Burnett interviewed a young woman whose baby, days from expected birth, was killed by a drunk driver. The deprived mother and her own mother went to Denver in recent days to plead for a fetal homicide law; their message was rejected in the highly political atmosphere of the Colorado legislature. Remarkably, Ms. Burnett openly displayed distress in the injustice of the lack of Colorado law. Readers are invited to view the CNN segment on the Internet.


Always Quoteworthy

Mother Teresa of Calcutta in a 1985 interview, posted on the Internet and quoted Feb. 6, by “…Abortion has become the greatest destroyer of peace today because it destroys the life of the child but also destroys the conscience of the mother also, and for years and years, she knows that she has murdered her own child.” 


Sen. McConnell re Roe’s 40th

Statement issued Jan. 22, 2013, by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a time to affirm the principle that all human life has inherent dignity and is thus deserving of the protection of the law. Later this week hundreds of thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds will gather in Washington to affirm this belief and that, contrary to the Supreme Court’s activist ruling in Roe v. Wade, the most vulnerable among us should be welcomed in life and protected in law. The participants in this year’s annual March for Life know that any just society is measured by the manner in which it treats the most defenseless of its citizens at every stage of life. I applaud them for their enthusiastic witness to this timeless truth, and I share their commitment to the cause of life.


March for Life Speech: Rep. Chris Smith

Delivered Jan. 25, 2013, at the March for Life on the National Mall in Washington, DC, transcribed by Life Advocacy; Rep. Smith is GOP co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus; he represents the 4th District of New Jersey

Thank you very much. It’s an honor for my wife Marie and me to be here among you, champions for life, and to be surrounded by men and women Members of Congress who tenaciously fight and defend basic, fundamental human rights, especially the right to life. So it’s great to be with them and with you.

My friends, 40 years ago this past Tuesday marks the US Supreme Court’s infamous, reckless and inhumane abandonment of women and babies to the abortionists. 40 years of victims, dead babies, wounded women and shattered families. 40 years of government-sanctioned violence against women and children.

Since 1973, more than fifty-five-million children have been killed by abortion. A staggering loss of children’s precious lives, a death toll that equates with the entire population of England.

The passage of time hasn’t changed the fact that abortion is a serious lethal violation of fundamental human rights. And that women and children deserve better. And that the demands of justice, generosity and compassion require that the right to life be guaranteed to everyone. Rather than dull our consciences to the unmitigated violence of abortion, the passage of time has only enabled us to seek and better understand the unique cruelty of abortion and its horrific legacy – victims – while making us even more determined than ever to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable.

In his inaugural speech on Monday, President Obama said, and I quote: “Together we can resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, that all are created equal, and that our journey is not complete until all of our children are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” We indeed, Mr. President, must care for the vulnerable. But that also includes unborn children and their mothers. No one gets left behind. No one gets left out.

All people are created—not born—created equal. And our journey is not complete until all of our children including the child in the womb are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. Yet, President Obama systematically and aggressively promotes abortion at home and overseas. Despite the fact that taxpayer-subsidized Planned Parenthood claims direct responsibility for killing over six million babies, Planned Parenthood remains President Obama’s favorite organization. How tragic.

Some day future generations of Americans will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient. They will wonder how and why a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President, who spoke eloquently about caring, cherishing and safeguarding all of our children, could have simultaneously have been the Abortion President.

Know this, Mr. President: We will never quit. In our adversity, our faith and trust in God is tested, but it is also deepened and overcomes and forges an indomitable yet humble spirit.

Know this: The pro-life movement is comprised of noble, caring, smart and selfless people – an extraordinarily powerful non-violent faith-filled human rights struggle that is growing in public support, intensity, commitment and hope.

And know this, Mr. President: The pro-life movement is not only on the side of compassion, justice and inclusion; we are on the right side of responsible science and of history.

God bless you, everyone.