Life Advocacy Briefing

April 7, 2014

W.V. Governor Vetoes 20-Week Ban / Mississippi Governor Poised to Sign
‘Time to Investigate!’ / Honoring Evil / Whose ‘War on Women’ Is It?

W.V. Governor Vetoes 20-Week Ban

THE GOVERNOR OF WEST VIRGINIA HAS VETOED legislation to protect gestating babies and their moms from the dangers of post-five-month abortions.

Though Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin had campaigned as a “pro-life” candidate for governor; last week, though, he claimed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is unconstitutional, “‘a determination,’” said John Carey, legislative coordinator for West Virginians for Life, quoted by Dave Andrusko, editor of National Right to Life News Today, “‘that is usually left to the courts.’”

The governor also “said punishments for having an abortion after 20 weeks provided an undue burden on pregnant women,” writes Dustin Siggins for This despite the fact that the clear wording of the bill applied penalties only to the committer of the abortion. The bill specifically provides: “No penalty may be assessed against the woman upon whom the abortion is performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced.”

But then, the governor also offered another inscrutable comment: “‘I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life,’ [Gov.] Tomblin said as he vetoed the bill,” writes Mr. Siggins. His comment prompted Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, quoted by Mr. Siggins, to “[call] the governor’s statement ‘high-profile hypocrisy. Shame on Gov. Tomblin,’” she said in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘for turning his back on unborn children and women by vetoing a compassionate, common-sense limit passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.’”

The vetoed legislation had passed the House by a 79-to-17-vote margin and the Senate with 29 votes, opposed by only five state senators. Both houses of the legislature are controlled by the Democratic Party, and West Virginia’s popular Democratic US Senator, Joe Manchin, has said he will vote for such legislation at the federal level if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) permits a vote.

A coalition of pro-life groups responded quickly to the veto with a news conference, reports Mr. Andrusko, asking lawmakers to convene a special session to override the veto. The coalition also, according to a news release from Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, “call[ed] on Sen. Joe Manchin to co-sponsor the federal Pain-Capable bill.” As of our deadline, however, no Democrat – not even Mr. Manchin – had added his or her name to S-1670.

National Right to Life president Carol Tobias, reports Mr. Siggins, “said [Mr.] Tomblin’s veto means ‘he can no longer be considered a “pro-life” governor.’” But according to Mrs. Hawkins, Mr. Tomblin will not be seeking re-election. “I believe this was the plan of the Democratic Leadership in West Virginia all along,” she charged, “to allow the bill to pass so their vulnerable Democrat members could vote pro-life before an important election and then have [their] lame-duck governor veto the bill. That’s not leadership,” she said, “and it’s certainly not what the citizens of West Virginia voted for.”


Mississippi Governor Poised to Sign

MISSISSIPPI GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R) SAID LAST WEEK “he looks forward to quickly signing” the post-20-week abortion ban passed last Tuesday by both houses of the state legislature, reports the Associated Press (AP).

The proposal passed the Mississippi House 91 to 20 and the Senate by a 41-to-10 vote.

In a statement released shortly after passage and reported by AP, Gov. Bryant called the bill “‘a great effort to protect the unborn in Mississippi.’”

Mr. Bryant “has said he looks forward,” reports Ben Johnson for, “to the day when Mississippi is ‘abortion-free. … I clearly said I want to end abortion in Mississippi,’ he said.

“He blasted critics for opposing previous laws he signed,” writes Mr. Johnson, “requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges. Abortion advocates do not care about women’s health, he said,” Mr. Johnson reports. “‘Their one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb,’” said the governor in the LifeSiteNews report.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortuary owner Diane Derzis indicated to AP that the expected new law would not affect her enterprise, as she limits her business to aborting babies before 16 weeks of gestational age; she also told AP each of her customers “undergoes a sonogram to determine fetal age.” She indicated, however, that “she expects someone would file a legal challenge.”

Ms. Derzis is already in court trying to avoid shut-down by the State of Mississippi for her violation of the state’s admitting-privileges law. Hers is the only free-standing abortuary left in the state.


‘Time to Investigate!’

OHIO RIGHT TO LIFE HAS RELEASED A LETTER the group sent last week to Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) asking him to direct his administration to investigate “Preterm Abortion Clinic,” after the abortion-related death of a 22-year-old Columbus woman. The letter also, according to Molly Smith of Cleveland Right to Life, reported by Operation Rescue (OR), asked Gov. Kasich “to instruct the Attorney General’s office to investigate [the young mother’s] death due to concerns that her abortion may have been done illegally.”

Latisha Wilson is believed to have carried her gestating baby five months at the time of her death, though Ohio law bars abortion after 20 weeks. A family member told a volunteer from Right to Life of Northeast Ohio, reports OR, that she had been “turned away from abortion clinics in Columbus, where she lived, and Akron due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy.”

The young mother, reports Ohio Right to Life, “was rushed to the emergency room after becoming unresponsive at Preterm.  Ms. Wilson passed away,” notes the major pro-life group, “on Friday, March 28, after being sustained by life support for a week.”

The tragedy is “not the first time that Preterm Abortion Clinic has had their health and safety protocols called into question,” notes Ohio Right to Life. “Preterm Abortion Clinic has notified the State Medical Board of Ohio of performing six botched chemical abortions involving RU-486 between 2011 and 2013.”

In addition to the letter to the governor, state action was sought by a coalition of pro-life leaders at a news conference outside the abortuary last Wednesday. “What participants [in the news conference] did not know at the time,” reports OR, “was that while they addressed the media before a large gathering of pro-life supporters, officials from the Ohio Dept. of Health were inside the facility conducting a preliminary investigation. One news station,” notes OR, “reported that the officials were at the abortion clinic for most of the day.”


Honoring Evil

Commentary by Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List president, published March 27, 2014, by The Daily Caller

One of the darkest shadows in American history is the role of federal and state governments in perpetrating human rights abuses against an estimated 60,000 Americans in the name of the pseudo-science of eugenics.

Eugenicists believe they can improve human genetic stock through controlled breeding and by thwarting those with “undesirable traits” – including lower intelligence, criminality and a history of promiscuity – from reproducing. In the early part of the 20th century, 30 states legalized state-sponsored forced sterilization of those who were considered “unfit.” From 1927 until 1974, Americans could be forcibly sterilized under the law of these states and with the approval of the Supreme Court, granted in Buck v. Bell. These policies overwhelmingly targeted society’s poor and marginalized.

It was only last year that North Carolina provided compensation to those few still-living victims of its eugenics program – becoming the first state to do so. Recently Virginia’s House of Delegates put forward a bipartisan bill to compensate victims in their state as well.

Today eugenic policies, even if compensation remains slow in coming, are almost universally viewed as monstrous. The victims’ anguish speaks to the horror they endured. A century ago, however, eugenics was seen as a “progressive” cause. And one of its champions – right until the bitter end – was Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.

This week House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is set to receive the Margaret Sanger Award, the top honor given each year by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

It is no secret that Nancy Pelosi stands with Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business. It has been a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship. Pelosi has steadfastly defended Planned Parenthood’s interests in Congress (more than $540 million in taxpayer dollars annually) despite a series of scandals including whistleblower-exposed incidents of fraud, incidents of health and safety violations, allegations of sex trafficking and child sex abuse cover-ups, and the 2012 death of abortion patient Tonya Reaves. Pelosi and Planned Parenthood share an ideology and the belief that abortion is “sacred ground.”

However, in accepting the Sanger award, Pelosi takes her bond with Planned Parenthood to a new level. The award aligns Pelosi not only with the interests of the abortion enterprise but, perhaps unconsciously, with its founder, a self-avowed devotee of negative eugenics.

While Planned Parenthood tries to gloss over Sanger’s involvement in the eugenics movement, facts are very stubborn things. Sanger was an ardent and outspoken advocate of the movement and all that it entailed – including the segregation and forced sterilization of those she deemed “unfit.” Her words speak for themselves:

“Nature eliminates the weeds, but we turn them into parasites and allow them to reproduce.”

“[The government needs to] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”

“Give dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.”

Not only did Sanger help to form and nurture the eugenics movement in the United States – through her writing and public speaking – but she preached the eugenic gospel of decrying charitable efforts on behalf of the poor as a form of “cruelty,” because such efforts helped them breed more of their kind and drain resources and attention from the well-born. Naturally, social forces that favored such philanthropy, mainly religious entities offering homes and shelters for unwed mothers, became objects of her severe scorn.

While there were many in the early part of the 20th century who blindly believed the faux science of eugenics, Sanger never backed away from her eugenic convictions. Towards the end of her career she remained resolute. In a 1957 television interview with Mike Wallace, Sanger remarked, “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world that have disease from their parents – that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born.”

Nancy Pelosi is surely not embracing the anti-human ideology of Margaret Sanger through her acceptance of this award. However, as states now wrestle with how to administer justice to those whose lives were torn apart, the failure to acknowledge the history of eugenics – and its relationship to Planned Parenthood’s still-esteemed founder – shows a marked insensitivity by the Congresswoman from California. After all, it was California that led the nation in forced sterilizations.

The fact that Planned Parenthood cannot distance itself from Sanger’s past does not excuse today’s political leaders from doing so. The powerful prejudices of eugenics are still with us. Today’s new reproductive sciences – combined with rampant abortion – provide those prejudices with an avenue to success the early eugenicists could scarcely have imagined. If any of this disturbs Nancy Pelosi, now is the time for her to say so, loud and clear.


Whose ‘War on Women’ Is It?

Commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in March 28, 2014, Washington Update

In the abortion debate, there aren’t many areas where the two sides agree. But shouldn’t women’s safety be one of them? Planned Parenthood doesn’t think so – and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees proving it.

In one of the greatest ironies of politics, the one thing standing between women and safe abortions continues to be the people providing them. In Texas, the abortion giant isn’t fighting the “war on women,” it’s fighting the war on healthcare accountability.

No sooner had Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed his name to the bottom of HB-2 than Cecile Richards’s group was in court, filing for the right to keep the clinics’ shoddy standards in place. Despite a five-clinic sting that same month, in which inspectors found everything from rusty suction machines to contaminated medicine in several locations, a lower court sided with Planned Parenthood in its crusade to protect clinics from the accountability they so desperately need.

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the side of women’s health and upheld the state’s abortion rules – dealing a huge blow to Planned Parenthood and other groups who insisted that the law didn’t protect women but instead put an “undue burden” on them. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit unanimously disagreed.

Instead, the judges – all women, ironically – believe HB-2 “reduces the risk that abortion patients will be subjected to woefully inadequate treatment.”

“During these proceedings,” Judge Edith Jones wrote, “Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.”

Under the ruling, two sections of HB-2 were upheld: the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and a mandate that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug (responsible for killing at least 10 women) be administered according to FDA procedure. Sounds logical enough. Not to Planned Parenthood, apparently, which blasted the judges’ opinion as an infringement of a woman’s right (to sub-par care). “Safe and legal abortion will continue to be virtually impossible for thousands of Texas women to access.”

If that’s true, it’s only because abortion tycoons like Planned Parenthood refuse to spare the money to upgrade their system. Like most of the industry, they say they care about women but refuse to prove it with simple modifications. As a result, 19 Texas abortion clinics have closed after failing to meet these common-sense health standards.

For Gov. … Perry and state leaders, who survived death threats, Satan chants, political bullying and even being chased down Capitol hallways for supporting the law, Thursday’s victory was especially sweet. “The people of Texas have spoken through their elected leaders and in support of protecting the culture of life in our state,” Gov. Perry told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit’s decision was a huge rebuke of State Sen. Wendy Davis, who became a household name for single-handedly trying to keep Texas’s abortion regulations as lax as possible. Thanks to this ruling, Americans are finally getting a picture of who the real extremists are.