Life Advocacy Briefing

October 28, 2013

Pillard Nomination on Tap? / The Most Critical Lesson
Planned Parenthood PAC Goes Broke Over Cuccinelli / Progress in Texas?
Test Coming for the U.S. Senate / Foundational Truth

Pillard Nomination on Tap?

REPORTS OUT OF THE U.S. SENATE INDICATE that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is preparing to move judicial nominations up on his chamber’s agenda, focusing particularly on the President’s radical nominees to the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, one of the nation’s most powerful judicial entities.

Of most acute interest to pro-life Americans is the Obama Regime’s attempt to secure a lifelong appointment to that bench for radical law professor Cornelia Pillard, whose statements have made her an especially twisted example of feminist illogic and extreme ideology.

Procedural motions on this nomination could come as early as this week, and we urge our readers – including those who have already expressed opposition to Ms. Pillard – to call both their US Senators and urge a vote against any motion facilitating or securing confirmation for Cornelia Pillard. They may be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

It should be noted, the White House has submitted several nominees to the DC Circuit bench, despite that court’s lack of backlog, though some of the other circuits – which are of less political interest – are overburdened. Many US Senators, consequently, oppose all the DC Circuit nominees, including the outspoken abortion devotee. It remains urgent, though, for pro-life citizens to oppose Ms. Pillard.


The Most Critical Lesson

THE WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHED AN EXCELLENT COMMENTARY on Oct. 17, 2013, by Maggie Gallagher, a board member and senior fellow at American Principles Project, a think-tank founded by Princeton University Prof. Robert George.

Though usually writing about culture, Ms. Gallagher here dissects the flaw in the social-issues avoidance strategy of many Republican candidates, illustrated in her column by the tragically faltering campaign of pro-life champion Ken Cuccinelli in his Nov. 5 bid to be elected Governor of Virginia.

She calls the GOP campaign strategy a “truce” on “social issues.” With that terminology we would disagree; we would term it instead a “retreat,” for, as she herself notes, there is no one with whom to reach a truce. Those who would like to read the entire column can probably still find it on the Post’s Internet website.

Our own consultations with pro-life candidates across many years show us the rightness of Ms. Gallagher’s most critical point, though we would note that it applies to primary contests within the GOP as much as to partisan general election battles; it applies wherever the two candidates are divided on the question of abortion policy. Her most significant paragraph, in our view: “On an issue such as abortion, about which Americans are fundamentally ambivalent, victory depends on how ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ are defined. Republicans’ self-imposed silence allows Democrats to define pro-life in ways that help them politically. Thus, Democrats do not have to justify their positions on infanticide, late-term abortions or permitting unborn baby girls to be killed just because of their gender.”

We find this flawed strategy is driven not so much by fear or reticence on the part of the candidate but by a bias brought to GOP candidates by professional – but too often unprincipled – campaign communication strategists and fundraising consultants. (The celebrated Karl Rove comes to mind, but the profession is crowded with such risk-averse advisors.)

Pro-life candidates and their advisors are best served by a principled determination to advocate sensible pro-life reform policies, with which large majorities of Americans agree, and by adherence to one’s own convictions. As Ms. Gallagher observes, “Democrats [we would say, abortion fellow travelers generally, regardless of party] are confident [note the word “confident”] that their opponents will not make an issue of their positions. Republican [we would say, pro-life] candidates’ apparent discomfort discussing such issues makes it look like they have something to hide, confirming to many voters Democratic suggestions that GOP candidates’ positions are extreme.”

Such a tragic waste this is of opportunities for voter education and candidate victories, of opportunities, then, for reform of America’s laws across a range of issues, undermined by the retreat-and-mumble approach taken by too many of those who could be our heroes.

We pray that our expectation of the Virginia Governor’s race proves too pessimistic. Ken Cuccinelli is a far better public official than his campaign seems to suggest.


Planned Parenthood PAC Goes Broke Over Cuccinelli

PLANNED PARENTHOOD’s FEDERAL SUPER-PAC WILL SOON, no doubt, initiate a robust round of fundraising, having expended nearly its entire treasury on ads opposing Virginia Atty. General Ken Cuccinelli (R) in his quest to be elected Governor next week.

“On Friday, Planned Parenthood VOTES,” reports Kirsten Andersen, “reported it had spent nearly $1.1 million on a new anti-Cuccinelli ad buy, leaving the PAC with only $73,746 to pay its remaining bills, which total $59,919.” The reporter notes that Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, “has called [Mr.] Cuccinelli’s defeat her ‘top priority.’” Evidently so!

Mailings from the PAC to selected Virginia voters go so far as to cite Mr. Cuccinelli’s vote as a state senator, reports Ms. Andersen, “to overturn then-Democratic Gov. Mark Warner’s veto of the partial-birth abortion ban,” as well as his drafting of the state’s parental consent law and his leadership of efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and his “demand” that Virginia’s “abortion facilities meet the same health standards as other surgical centers,” writes Ms. Andersen.

Planned Parenthood’s mailing piece warned, reports Ms. Andersen, “‘Ken is way out there.’” (More appropriately a label for the abortion giant itself.) And the PAC has “paired up with [Democratic nominee Terry] McAuliffe to launch a website, ‘Keep Ken Out,’” notes LifeSiteNews, “devoted to attacking the Republican candidate for his pro-life views.”

Seeking to blunt the $25 million being spent by the McAuliffe campaign against him, Mr. Cuccinelli was featured by the GOP in its weekly broadcast memo in mid-October, notes Ms. Andersen, highlighting opposition to ObamaCare and calling it “‘fundamentally broken even before it started.’” He is well qualified to bring such a message as the first state attorney general to file suit against the massive takeover of the US medical care and coverage system.


Progress in Texas?

THE NEW, COMPREHENSIVE ABORTION LAW IN TEXAS is due to take effect tomorrow, Oct. 29, barring chemical abortions by remote teleconference (“telemed” abortions), restricting abortions on babies who have reached the fifth month of their gestation, and barring abortions by “doctors” who do not have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles to take care of customers suffering complications.

(The telemed provision requires adherence to the prescription protocol issued by the Food & Drug Administration upon FDA clearance of the French abortion drug for marketing in the US, a protocol which Planned Parenthood has ignored from the beginning.)

Planned Parenthood and some of its fellow travelers have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the telemed and admitting privileges provisions. The case is pending before US District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, Texas, reports Will Weissert for the Associated Press (AP).

“If [Judge] Yeakel finds the law unconstitutional,” writes Mr. Weissert, Texas “Attorney General Greg Abbott … will appeal that decision to the conservative New Orleans-based [federal appeals] court.”

Other provisions – including one which, notes AP, “requires all abortions take place in an ambulatory surgical center” – are scheduled to take effect a year from now and have not been challenged in court, as of this writing, because enforcement is not ripe. “Also not included in the suit,” writes Mr. Weissert, “is the 20-week [five-month] ban, since the vast majority of abortions are performed prior to that threshold.”

Should the admitting privileges provision prevail, Planned Parenthood “has argued,” reports AP, “that abortion clinics in Fort Worth, Harlingen, Killeen, Lubbock, McAllen and Waco will have to close.” Oh well.


Test Coming for the U.S. Senate

Commentary by Father Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life, posted Oct. 21, 2013 at

            Headlines out of Washington DC these days are a confusing mess, and there is a lot of discontent regarding our elected officials. Shutdowns, slowdowns and slimdowns, budget and debt woes, and failure to explain government scandals have dominated the news. But there is one scandal that, in the long view of history, will prove more monumental than all the rest, and that the US Senate now has the opportunity to handle.

A bill will soon be introduced in the Senate to do what the House of Representatives and ten states have already done, namely, to protect children in the womb from 20 weeks of development forward. This bill is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and is based on the consensus of scientific evidence that the child at 20 weeks of development is capable of feeling pain. In the interest of protecting that child from pain, the bill provides that the child may not be aborted. Ten states have passed this law, and the US House of Representatives, by a vote of 228-196, also voted to approve it in June. The measure enjoys the support of some 64% of the American public.

It does not, however, enjoy the support of the President. On June 17, the White House issued a statement that said that this bill, protecting children from painful dismemberment, “shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution.”

Federal law currently states, “It is therefore declared to be the policy of the United States that the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods.” Those words come from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, a law that expresses our concern for the pain experienced by animals, but that more fundamentally expresses a dimension of our own humanity.

Yet the President can’t bring himself to extend the same concern to human children. There’s the greatest scandal of all. And the moment has now arrived to find out how each of our United States Senators will handle this issue. Will they be as callous as the President toward the pain that children in the womb experience? Or will they dodge the question altogether by avoiding a vote on the bill? Or will they do the right thing and pass this commonsense, decent legislation?

In 1994, an article in the British medical journal The Lancet revealed hormonal stress reactions in the unborn child and concluded with the recommendation that painkillers be used when surgery is done on these children. The authors write, “This applies not just to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the fetus, but possibly also to termination of pregnancy, especially by surgical techniques involving dismemberment.” Earlier, in 1991, scientific advisors to the Federal Medical Council in Germany made a similar recommendation. This issue has not escaped the notice of the medical and scientific community.

Now it remains to be seen if it will escape the notice of the US Senate.

This is a reasonable development in our national debate on abortion. When courts were considering the constitutionality of the ban on partial-birth abortion in the last decade, abortionist Dr. Timothy Johnson testified that the question of whether a child being dismembered by abortion felt any pain did not even cross his mind. As a nation, whatever our views on abortion, our sense of humanity has got to be better than that. Now it’s up to the US Senate to give us their answer to that question.


Foundational Truth

Commentary by Pastor Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, posted Oct. 18, 2013, on

We have bloody hands and a guilty conscience.

Of all the Ten Commandments, number six is the only one that our nation has codified into law: “You shall not murder.”

Since 1973, legal abortions in America have taken the lives of 55 million people. If 55 million Americans died tomorrow, whoever led the genocide would not get a parade in celebration, bumper stickers in support, or be a viable candidate for political office.

Fifty-five million lives equals 17.5% of the country’s current population. It’s a number greater than the population of any state in the Union and greater than the population of 219 of the world’s countries, including South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Australia, Argentina and Canada. Fifty-five million is about the same as the population of the 25 smallest states and Washington, DC, combined.

Both science and Scripture are absolutely clear that life begins at conception. Taking a human life is murder, by definition, which makes abortion a murderous act.

Consider this: On Dec. 5, John Andrew Welden will be sentenced after pleading guilty in the murder of his unborn baby. Welden’s girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, was six weeks pregnant when he gave her an abortion pill and told her it was antibiotics.

Welden was prosecuted for violating the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Believe it or not, federal legislation forbids the murder of an unborn baby – except in the 55 million instances when it doesn’t. And a father can be convicted of murdering his unborn child without the mother’s consent, but if a woman decides to end her pregnancy against the wishes of the father, that’s her right to choose.

Choose murder? Can’t follow all of the logic? Perhaps that’s because it’s illogical.

Thanks to ultrasound technology and pro-life advocacy, our culture is beginning to accept the fact that an abortion doesn’t just remove “tissue” but ends a human life. Yet many persist in not only killing their child but also their conscience.

In a New York Times op-ed entitled “My Abortion, at 23 Weeks,” the author recounts her decision to terminate one of her two twins in utero after doctors discovered a birth defect. “We made sure our son was not born only to suffer,” she explains. “He died in a warm and loving place, inside me.”

The notorious abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, likewise justified his atrocities by citing the greater good. “In an ideal world, we’d have no need for abortion. But bringing a child into the world when it cannot be provided for, that there are not sufficient systems to support, is a greater sin.”

I recently spoke with one of my friends, Dr. John Piper, who told me about a conversation he had with an abortion doctor. He recalls, “Before I could get my first of ten arguments out of my mouth, [the doctor] said, ‘Look, I know I’m killing children.’”

John was astounded and asked the man to explain why he would do such a thing. “To be honest, my wife wants me to, because it’s a matter of justice for women [and] the lesser of two evils in her mind.”

I would agree that this is a matter of justice – for the one million babies slaughtered every year as we play God and determine who lives and who dies.

As Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, said, “How can the ‘Dream’ survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.”

Abortion is not a matter of politics. It’s a matter of life and death, for 55 million and counting. Enough.

You shall not murder.