Life Advocacy Briefing

August 26, 2013

Session Resumes Soon / An Appeal to the House
Another Gov’t Grant to Planned Parenthood / Putting Family First
Iowa Moving Against Telemed Abortions? / Catching Up a Bit
Choose Life / Makes Sense to Us!

Session Resumes Soon

CONGRESS WILL RETURN FROM RECESS SOON AFTER LABOR DAY, so we encourage our readers to contact their US Representatives and Senators now, while they are “back home,” to remind them of their duty and opportunity to protect innocent human lives. Senators in particular need urging to back the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which the House has passed, to outlaw abortions on babies old enough to experience pain, determined by medical authorities to be, at latest, after 20 weeks – five months – of gestation. And all Members need to be urged to vote against funding ObamaCare.


An Appeal to the House

WHEN U.S. HOUSE LEADERS NEXT MONTH CRAFT the expected Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government into the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, it is critical that the CR’s authors adopt the position taken July 24 by the House Appropriations Committee with respect to the funding of “family planning” under the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 25 cleared $669 million for USAID and included an amendment to permanently rescind the Mexico City Policy, according to the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam). The House panel dramatically cut international “family planning” funding to $461 million

The House committee also expressly restored the Mexico City Policy, which bars US tax funding to organizations that promote or commit abortion overseas. The policy was first promulgated by the late Pres. Ronald Reagan and, as one of his first acts in office in 2009, was revoked by Pres. Barack Obama. It has arisen occasionally since then as a controversy in Congressional appropriations battles and needs to be made permanent in statutory law.

Readers are urged to contact House Members – via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 – to ask that they insist on cutting overseas “family planning” funding and on re-enacting the Mexico City Policy in any consideration of State Dept. appropriations, including via Continuing Resolution. Though Members have not yet returned for session, their offices are staffed daily.


Another Gov’t Grant to Planned Parenthood

THE OBAMA REGIME IS SPENDING OUR TAX DOLLARS on promoting enrollment in ObamaCare, giving grants to a variety of organizations to field an army of salesmen to persuade unwitting Americans to sign up in “health exchanges,” the mechanism by which the federal government and states will peddle insurance.

Now comes word from Philip Klein, reporter for the Washington Examiner online news publication, that the “health insurance exchange” in Washington, DC, “has awarded a $375,000 grant to abortion provider Planned Parenthood to help enroll participants in ObamaCare.” The Planned Parenthood grant was “one of the largest awards” to be handed out to 35 DC-based organizations, including “local churches,” reports Mr. Klein, “as well as healthcare and community organizations.” The sales force is being built through a $6.4-million taxpayer expense, in DC alone.

Other Planned Parenthood affiliates are feeding at the push-ObamaCare trough, according to American Life League, which reports a total of $655,192 being handed out to the abortion behemoth in Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana, and New Hampshire. Overall, the Dept. of Health and Human Services is dumping $67 million taxpayer dollars into the seek-and-sign-up campaign.

“According to the [DC] exchange,” writes the Examiner’s Philip Klein, “150 representatives [of the grant recipients] will undergo 30 hours of ‘rigorous training’ to enable them to answer questions about ObamaCare for those seeking to enroll.” All to promote socialized medicine and tax-funded abortion. And to funnel millions more tax dollars to Planned Parenthood once the “exchanges” get underway. The DC exchange, notes Mr. Klein, “is scheduled to be open for applicants on Oct. 1, with benefits kicking in on Jan. 1, 2014.”

American Life League’s Rita Diller quotes an assertion by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) regarding the DC grant, “‘The federal funding of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood is a serious problem in our country and one that I have been fighting since I arrived in Congress.’ She added that the DC grant is ‘a sad reminder that despite assurances from the President when the law was passed, ObamaCare will in fact give taxpayer money to abortion providers.’”

The sales scheme is one more reason Congress – including the US Senate – should be putting a high priority on blocking any Fiscal Year 2014 funding for ObamaCare. Now.


Putting Family First

A NEW LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED AGAINST OBAMACARE’s COVERAGE MANDATE – this one by a Missouri state lawmaker and his wife.

State Rep. and Mrs. Joseph Wieland “are suing the federal government,” reports the Thomas More Society in a news release, “for violating their religious liberty, free speech and parental rights by requiring them to subscribe to group insurance coverage for their family that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and birth control.”

A beneficiary of Missouri’s Consolidated Health Care Plan, which furnishes healthcare benefits for state lawmakers and their families, Rep. Wieland was notified by the plan’s administrators last month that, in the words of the Thomas More news release, “as of Aug. 1, 2013, he would no longer be able to receive health coverage that is free of abortion-inducing drugs. [Rep.] Wieland had specifically enrolled in a program that did not cover these items,” notes the release, “which he and his family consider objectionable.”

The change in Missouri’s plan is forced by the state’s involvement in ObamaCare and the controversial contraception mandate foisted on Americans via a regulation issued by Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Thomas More special counsel Timothy Belz was quoted in the news release: “The particulars of ObamaCare are now forcing our clients [the Wieland family] to participate in something they consider an intrinsic evil. … The intention of the founding fathers was to protect people from government imposition into their religious convictions. Instead,” said Mr. Belz, “the federal government is now coercing our clients into abandoning their religious views and interfering with these parents’ right to raise their daughters within their Catholic principles. … The federal government,” he said, “has ignored the rights of individuals, such as the Wielands, who hold sincere religious beliefs that condemn abortion and any medication or procedure that causes abortion.”


Iowa Moving Against Telemed Abortions?

THE IOWA BOARD OF MEDICINE WILL HOLD A HEARING on telemed abortions this Wednesday as part of their consideration of banning the practice.

Iowa is where remote-control abortions were inaugurated by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Eleven states have reportedly banned the practice. The ban was included in the comprehensive pro-life law recently enacted in Texas.

The procedure, in which a supposed doctor interviews a customer by computer video live hook-up and then strokes a key to pop open a drawer in which the customer finds an abortion drug, constitutes a business plan for the abortion behemoth in which chemical abortion is spread inexpensively in rural regions. Via telemed abortion, one abortionist can handle the business of chemical abortions throughout the state while sitting at a computer terminal in one location. The customer ingests the pill on her own and aborts off-site, with no physical examination beforehand and without assurance of follow-up or treatment for side effects, which can be severe and even deadly.

“Chemical abortions can be life-threatening,” noted Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Michael J. Norton in an ADF news release on the controversy, “and do pose serious health risks to women. No matter where one stands on abortion, all can agree that Planned Parenthood and other abortionists should be accountable to basic health and medical standards, and that at least includes a licensed professional personally meeting with women who are considering such a serious and potentially life-altering act.” Let us hope the Iowa Board of Medicine does indeed agree with such obvious common sense.


Catching Up a Bit

CONGRESSIONAL RECESS GIVES US AN OPPORTUNITY to pick up a couple of pro-life commentaries we have not had the space to reprint until now. We saved the items below from their original publication dates in June and even April, because we considered them of both educational and strategic value for our readers. So we encourage our readers to read them as signposts toward victory.


Choose Life

April 18, 2013, commentary by Priests for Life founder Fr. Frank Pavone, reprinted from

Kermit Gosnell has been accused [now convicted] of “snipping” the spinal cords of babies born alive in his Philadelphia abortion clinic. Is such behavior crazy, or does it simply follow the logic of an industry that believes the mother’s choice overrides any right to protection that the baby has?

Now I’m not saying Gosnell, if found guilty, shouldn’t be held accountable for the eight murders he is charged with. But I am suggesting that a certain set of presumptions has been created by our public policies on abortion and the arguments made to justify these policies. If we are horrified by what happened at Gosnell’s clinic, we have to examine what that connection might be.

Statistics from the Guttmacher Institute show that, in the United States, about 18,000 abortions occur annually – and legally – at 21 weeks of pregnancy and beyond. These are babies the size of a large banana.

One of the most memorable conversations I ever had was with Dr. Martin Haskell of Ohio, who performs abortions in the latest stages of pregnancy. I asked how he justified doing such a thing. “I don’t know when the child receives a soul,” he said.

Dr. James McMahon, a late-term abortionist, said in an interview with American Medical News: “After 20 weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it. … On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is: ‘Who owns the child?’ It’s got to be the mother.”

Notice the lack of an argument here denying that these children are living human babies. Instead, we’re hearing that these are babies who do not deserve the protection of the law. This dichotomy starts with Roe v. Wade. On the one hand, the Supreme Court ruling states, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” But it also states, “The word person, as used in the 14th Amendment, does not include the unborn.”

Thus, some humans don’t have to be considered persons. The difficulty, of course, is drawing a clear line and having a clear rationale for that line. However, we have all kinds of evidence of how dangerously flexible that line can be.

Florida is working to pass a bill [and since June has done so] that would protect babies born after a failed abortion attempt. We already have this law on the federal level – the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. During a March hearing on the Florida bill, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist named Alisa LaPolt Snow was asked: “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?” She responded, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician.”

In February 2012, the Journal of Medical Ethics published an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva titled, “After-birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” The authors state, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” [Life Advocacy Briefing’s editor requests that readers pause right now to re-read that sentence and then to go on.]

As the authors admit, the assertion is not new. The controversial ethicist Peter Singer said long ago: “The location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference” and, to be consistent, there are “only two possibilities,” namely, “oppose abortion or allow infanticide.”

In the last decade, federal legislation has attempted to put the brakes on the endorsement of infanticide. The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was signed into law in 2002, and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was enacted the next year. The ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.

But such laws are not sufficient to resolve the dangerous tension created by allowing children to be killed at certain stages of their development for rationales that don’t apply at later stages.


Makes Sense to Us!

June 25, 2013, commentary by Pro-Life Action League founder Joe Scheidler, reprinted from

A column by William Saletan, who covers science for Slate, appeared in Thursday’s Chicago Tribune as an attack on the US House vote to outlaw abortion at 20 weeks.

His effort is to show that pro-lifers are subtly attempting to push back the cut-off date until we reach the very beginning of fetal life. But in the attempt, he does pro-life and the unborn a great service by trotting out the facts of fetal development that we are always trying to explain to the public.

He says while pain is felt before 20 weeks, this isn’t the point. It’s just a line drawn for the time being, and if pro-lifers can push it back closer to conception, they will.

He quotes Rep. Marsha Blackburn saying the babies feel pain at eight weeks. Then he quotes Maureen Condic’s “Milestones in pain development” that the basic structures of the nervous system are formed at four weeks.

Saletan then points out that a baby has a sense of touch at eight weeks, has a heartbeat at three weeks, can kick and has fingerprints at seven weeks, can frown and turn her head at ten weeks.

He concludes that while fetal development moves forward, the pro-life political agenda moves backward. “First you draw the line at viability. Then you draw it at pain capacity. Then you draw it at thumb-sucking.”

What the column does in fact do is disclose fact after fact of fetal development while intending only to reveal pro-lifers’ intent to restrict abortion as early as possible.

“Look around the country and you’ll see what is in store,” Saletan complains as he lists restrictive laws in state after state.

“Ultimately,” the column concludes, “pro-lifers plan to outlaw abortion at conception,” and he quotes Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican: “If it’s ‘killing’ one minute before birth, how about one week? How about one month? How about two months? We can go all the way back.”

Saletan’s conclusion: “And they will.” But in reaching that conclusion, Saletan does all pro-lifers a favor by pointing out the humanity of the child from conception.

Thanks, Bill, we needed that.