Life Advocacy Briefing

May 5, 2014

Student Fellowship Wins Contraception Mandate Waiver
Enforcement Forestalled / Standing for Life in Oklahoma
Doctor Leaves Abortion Behind / How Long? / Uh-Oh
ObamaCare’s Slippery Slope

Student Fellowship Wins Contraception Mandate Waiver

THE FELLOWSHIP OF CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY STUDENTS HAS BEEN GRANTED a waiver from the Obama Regime’s mandate that businesses and organizations cover abortifacient contraceptives and sterilization under insurance for employees.

The “FOCUS” waiver did not come via the White House or even the bureaucracy, as scores of other mandate waivers have; it came in a ruling from the US District Court based in Colorado, and it will “remain in effect,” reports Christian Today, “until the US Supreme Court [rules in] the cases of the large chain retailer Hobby Lobby and the small family business Conestoga Wood Specialties, both of whom are suing the [Dept. of Health & Human Services] over the same rules. A ruling in the cases is expected by the end of summer,” reports Christian Today. We at Life Advocacy anticipate a ruling in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga in June or early July; the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in those cases in March.

“While religious institutions like churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are exempt from this rule,” notes Christian Today, “businesses with a religious ethos are not provided that same protection, [which] has given rise to a number of businesses with religious connections attempting to sue the government because of the legal requirement to pay for medications … which they find morally objectionable.

“FOCUS argued that this policy violated the First and Fifth Amendment[s to] the US Constitution,” reports Christian Today, “which provide for religious freedom and protection from ‘abuses of government authority’ respectively. They also,” notes the news source, “cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which permits religious exemptions to laws for the general population under special circumstances.”


Enforcement Forestalled

DR. JAMES DOBSON’s FAMILY TALK HAS WON a temporary injunction protecting him from being federally mandated to provide insurance coverage of abortifacient contraceptives and sterilization procedures under ObamaCare.

The ruling by District Judge Robert Blackburn does not conclude the lawsuit, but it did stop the clock on the Obama Regime’s attempt to force the leading Christian conservative’s radio operation into furnishing the coverage or facing fines of up to $36,500 per employee per year, reports Garth Kant for The fines would have begun on May 1, had the injunction not been granted, and Dr. Dobson said, reports Mr. Kant, “‘We would have closed our doors.’”


Standing for Life in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA GOV. MARY FALLIN (R) SIGNED INTO LAW in late April tightened restrictions on RU-486, reports Kirsten Andersen for, “requiring abortionists to follow FDA [Food & Drug Administration] guidelines when prescribing it.” The statute takes effect Nov. 1.

Abortionists, including the cartel’s trend-setter, Planned Parenthood, have regularly ignored the FDA’s guidelines setting a 49-day limit on the administration of RU-486. “Abortionists currently use the drugs for two weeks later than that,” notes Ms. Andersen, “because they claim it is less invasive than surgical abortion. Abortionists also typically use only one-third of the recommended dose of the costly baby-killing drug mifepristone as a cost-cutting measure,” she writes, “while doubling up on the cheaper half of the drug cocktail, misoprostol, which expels the body.

“The new law will prohibit both practices,” Ms. Andersen reports, “requiring abortionists to follow FDA guidelines for both timing and dosage.”

This is not the first time Oklahoma has sought to protect chemical abortion customers. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the RU-486 legislation signed by Gov. Fallin in 2011. That law included the same restrictions as above “but also,” reports Ms. Andersen, “included a provision requiring that abortionists give a woman a health exam before dispensing RU-486 to assess how far along she is into pregnancy,” an eminently sensible provision but one which the abortion industry protested as a curb on telemed abortions, wherein the RU drug cocktail is dispensed by a doctor who interviews his customer via remote computer and never examines his “patient,” a practice which the Iowa Board of Medicine barred several months ago but which evidently was embraced by Oklahoma’s high court.

Since [Gov.] Fallin’s inauguration [in 2011], she has signed multiple pro-life bills,” notes LifeSiteNews, “including the new abortion drug law and its predecessor, a 20-week abortion ban and a [law] prohibiting health plans sold in Oklahoma from covering elective abortions.”

It appears from a later report by Ms. Andersen that Gov. Fallin will soon find another pro-life bill on her desk. Still in the legislative process but going strong is a bill tightening abortuary safety standards – including requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital – and to “place strict limits,” writes Ms. Andersen, “on embryonic experimentation.”

The still-pending legislation “drew strong bipartisan support,” writes Ms. Andersen, “including from Democrat Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City, who said an embryo used in medical and scientific research is ‘a human being. If standing for human life is wrong,’” she said in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘then I don’t want to be right.’”


Doctor Leaves Abortion Behind

THE 40 DAYS FOR LIFE MINISTRY HAS SAVED HUNDREDS OF BABIES and brought significant numbers of abortuary personnel out of the business via prayerful vigils, maintained in 40-day campaigns outside abortuaries throughout America.

The group reported recently in one of its updates that an abortionist had told one of the prayer warriors that he needed to talk with a priest. Now the result has been announced, giving “Christ’s love” the credit for the exciting news.

One of the 40 Days prayer warriors in Manassas, Virginia, told, reports LSN writer Dustin Siggins, “that abortion doctor Charles J. Akoda ‘took a very bold step and met with a priest and has declared himself out of the abortion business.’ …

“Amethyst Health Center for Women owner Elizabeth VanDerWoude verified in a phone call,” writes Mr. Siggins, “that [Dr.] Akoda is no longer with her facility.”

The pro-life activist has now asked 40 Days “for prayers ‘for Dr. Akoda’s spiritual protection as he walks a new path in his life,’” reports Mr. Siggins. And the Manassas source also “ask[ed] everyone to ‘thank God for his amazing conversion.’”

The activist called the episode “a lesson for him[self],” writes Mr. Siggins, “because ‘it’s easy to criticize from afar. But befriending an abortion doctor reminds us that they’re human, just as we are. And that’s what it took.’” He told LifeSiteNews, according to the LSN reporter, “What convinced [Dr.] Akoda to leave the clinic was ‘a combination of compassion, care, kindness and persistence – in other words, the love of Christ being seen.’”


How Long?

HOW LONG MUST THE PEOPLE OF NEBRASKA WAIT for the state’s Dept. of Health & Human Services to investigate and discipline – preferably shutter – the late-term abortion shop operated by LeRoy Carhart?

The same day that Operation Rescue received a letter from the agency stating, reports OR, “there would be no investigation into other botched abortion incidents involving [Mr.] Carhart,” an ambulance took away yet another Carhart customer, “the seventh known abortion-related medical emergency involving [Mr.] Carhart in the last two years,” notes OR.

March 4, 2014, Germantown, Maryland.  Nov. 30, 2013, Bellevue, NE.  Nov. 26, 2013, Germantown, MD.  July 9, 2013, Germantown, MD.  Feb. 7, 2013, Germantown, MD.  March 31, 2012, Bellevue, NE. For whom next does the bell toll?



April 24, 2014, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

Republicans are still months away from kicking off the Presidential race – and that’s a good thing for front-runners like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who could use the extra time to hone their messaging. In four years, the Kentucky leader has won over plenty of fans for his solid record on a whole range of issues, including Life. But today, it isn’t his record that’s concerning people – it’s his rhetoric.

Yesterday, in a sit-down with former Obama insider David Axelrod, Sen. Paul surprised a lot of conservatives with his nonchalant attitude on abortion and his role in ending it. As President, Axelrod wanted to know, how hard would his White House push to overturn Roe v. Wade? The Senator’s answer: Not much. With the country so evenly divided on the issue, he thinks an incremental approach is best. “I think the debate is about when life begins,” said the lead sponsor of the Senate’s Life at Conception Act. “Is it okay for an eight-pound baby to be aborted one week before delivery?”

Asked what his personal opinion on life-at-conception is, Sen. Paul said, “My personal religious belief is that life begins at the very beginning.” But, he explained, America is evenly divided between “all life and no abortion, or all abortion and no life. … I think the law will come down in between.” Later he said, “The country is in the middle, [and] we’re not changing any of the laws until the country is persuaded otherwise.”

Maybe it was inarticulate, or maybe these are the Senator’s real feelings, but that last comment certainly set off alarm bells for social conservatives. Obviously, no President has the power to unilaterally ban abortion, but he does have the power to make the issue a priority – something most Americans assumed Rand Paul would do. Regardless of the GOP’s pick, conservatives expect their nominee to use the Oval Office to advance a culture of Life. Changing minds is important, but what better way to accomplish it than using a national platform to talk about its importance?

As to Sen. Paul’s suggestion that the country isn’t persuaded on the issue, the latest surveys tell a different story. In fact, Americans’ opinions on abortion have shifted so much that Gallup polling now considers “pro-life” the “new normal.” What’s more, the biggest sea change has been among young voters – the same ones who make up the Senator’s strongest support.

And public opinion isn’t the only thing proving him wrong. In the states, legislatures are shattering records for pro-life bills, passing a whopping 205 measures between 2011 and 2013. If that isn’t indicative of the public’s conviction on the issue, I don’t know what is. Just yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) added another one, signing his state’s 20-week abortion ban into law – outlawing the procedure when babies can feel excruciating pain.

After the failures of John McCain and Mitt Romney, social conservatives are looking for someone who will put a priority on their issues, not just use them as throwaway lines in a stump speech.


ObamaCare’s Slippery Slope

Commentary published April 29, 2014, by USA Today, written by attorneys Scott Ward & Patrick Purtill, filers of amicus brief in Electric Mirror lawsuit pending before US Supreme Court

During a recent [Hobby Lobby] Supreme Court argument over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptives mandate, Justice Anthony Kennedy cut to the heart of the government’s argument. “Under your view,” he told Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, “a for-profit corporation could be forced to pay for abortions.” After some verbal fumbling, Verrilli conceded: “You’re right.” But, he quickly added, there is nothing to fear because there “is no law like that on the books.”

Not yet.

Earlier this year, Washington State tried to be the first. Washington’s Reproductive Parity Act (HB-2148), would require any health plan that covers maternity care to cover elective, surgical abortions also. The bill is supported by a majority of the Washington legislature and the governor. It is stalled – for now – in the Senate Health Care Committee.

The reach of this abortion mandate would be extensive, because current federal laws require almost all insurance plans to cover maternity services. Washington State stands ready to require almost every business in the state to cover elective abortions.

Although HB-2148 cites an existing conscience clause in Washington law, it is immediately followed by another clause that seems to nullify it. How the two can be reconciled is unclear.

What is clear is that the federal government believes no for-profit corporation has an enforceable – or even cognizable – conscience objection to such a law. In his argument, Solicitor General Verrilli made it clear, repeatedly, that the government believes for-profit corporations do not have constitutional or statutory rights to protection of their religious exercise. The government seems to believe the same regarding religious nonprofit corporations. While grudgingly recognizing that churches are entitled to an “exemption” from the contraceptives mandate, HHS granted religious nonprofit corporations an “accommodation” instead.

The distinction is critical: An exemption is a right; an accommodation is only a dispensation. It’s a point the government understands perfectly. During 45 minutes of intense argument, Verrilli consistently refused to admit that the “accommodation” was compelled by the First Amendment or by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It is simply government beneficence. As such, it can be taken away.

Here is what that means for Washington State business owner Jim Mischel. In 1998, Jim launched a company called Electric Mirror in a garage with the help of his parents, brother and sister – all of whom still work for the company. They never dreamt that they had to separate their faith from their business. So they never did. They drafted a corporate statement of faith that defined how Electric Mirror would make its products, treat its customers, care for its employees and serve the church and community.

The Mischels are a tight-knit family whose faith informs every decision they make. When Jim was four, his parents, Doc and Faith, were asked to adopt a baby conceived when the 14-year-old mother was raped by a stranger. When the pregnancy was discovered, the girl’s mother insisted she have an abortion. But the pregnancy was too far along, so the nurse at the clinic approached Jim’s parents.

Then as now, the Mischels acted out of their deepest beliefs, saying “yes” without any idea how they could afford it. Doc was still in dental school, so they were already struggling. But they managed to pull together enough money, and Jim’s little brother Aaron became part of the family. Now, Aaron is Electric Mirror’s vice president.

Today, Electric Mirror employs more than 200 people and must provide health coverage under the ACA. But no law had to compel Jim and Aaron to provide health insurance for their employees. It was already in the company’s statement of faith: Electric Mirror would offer its employees both wages and health benefits more generous than the law required.

At the Supreme Court, the government argued that Jim and Aaron can be forced to provide whatever insurance coverage the government mandates, which means abortifacient contraceptives today and, most likely in Washington State, surgical abortions tomorrow.

Such arguments erode our first freedoms, drive religious individuals from the marketplace and force people like Jim and Aaron into an impossible dilemma. This is not the free exercise of religion our Constitution guarantees.