Life Advocacy Briefing

June 30, 2014

Celebrating Independence / Free Speech Restored!
Another Win Against ‘The Mandate’ / Deceiving Women
Martinez Campaign Stumbles / Presbyterians Silence Pro-Lifers Among Them
Official Summary of S-1696

Celebrating Independence

WE WILL BE HONORING INDEPENDENCE DAY by taking off a week from publishing Life Advocacy Briefing. Friday is a major day in our production schedule, but this coming Friday is July 4, so please do not expect a Briefing from us until the July 14 edition.

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision today (June 30) in the Hobby Lobby appeal to escape ObamaCare’s anti-faith/anti-life oppression, and we expect we will be publishing select analyses in its aftermath. But respecting one of the top holidays of the year, we ask our readers to be patient, confident that the news itself will be available from many other sources. We continue to pray for the right decision to be rendered at 10 a.m. EDT June 30.


Free Speech Restored!

THE SUPREME COURT THURSDAY HANDED DOWN A UNANIMOUS RULING overturning the Massachusetts state law establishing buffer zones around abortuaries. Unanimous, as in 9 to 0. On an abortion-related case. Praise the Lord!

The rejection of the law was based – appropriately – on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Even pro-life sidewalk counselors, prayer warriors and protesters do have free speech rights after all. At least in public places.

“The Supreme Court ruled,” notes Operation Rescue (OR) in a bulletin commenting on the decision, “that the buffer zone violated the First Amendment because it ‘restricts access to “public way[s]” and “sidewalks,” places that have traditionally been open for speech activities.’”

Said OR president Troy Newman, “These buffer zones have not only denied pro-life activists their right to speak but have also denied women the right to hear information about abortion that could be wanted and helpful to them in making a decision that will affect the rest of their lives.”

Mr. Newman predicted the invalidation of buffer-zone laws “across America,” a conclusion which appears to be entirely likely. The Court’s ruling, though based on the case brought against the law in one state, was based on Constitutional principle, which should apply to all.

The Court commented that abortion shops can choose less-restrictive means of defending their safety and that of their customers – if such protection is necessary – such as hiring a security guard. The Court gave a nod to laws or ordinances barring obstruction of “clinic” entrances, enforceable by police. But all nine Justices declared anti-speech buffer zones unconstitutional. Yes!


Another Win Against ‘The Mandate’

A COLORADO-BASED FEDERAL JUDGE GRANTED AN INJUNCTION last Monday against enforcement by the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) of its contraception mandate.

Without the ruling by District Judge Robert E. Blackburn, Colorado Christian University (CCU) would have had to begin paying a penalty as of July 1 for its conscientious refusal to furnish contraception to employees and students.

Judge Blackburn wrote, reports Michael Gryboski for the Christian Post, “‘I conclude that there is a substantial likelihood that CCU can show that the Affordable Care Act and the regulations constitute a substantial burden on the exercise of its religion. … Obversely,’” he wrote, according to Mr. Gryboski, “‘the government has not shown that this substantial burden is permissible under the [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] because the mandate is in furtherance of a compelling government interest.’”

The ruling comes despite dismissal last year of a CCU case seeking exemption from the mandate. The 2013 dismissal was based on the pendency of “HHS rules,” reports Mr. Gyboski, “regarding religious exemptions from the mandate. Last August,” notes the Christian Post reporter, “with the rules finalized earlier that summer, CCU renewed its lawsuit against HHS over the mandate. ‘The bureaucrats’ proposed solution does not solve anything,’” said Becket Fund senior counsel Eric Baxter, quoted by Mr. Gryboski. Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a pro-bono legal firm which, notes the Christian Post, is representing plaintiffs in “dozens of lawsuits against the HHS mandate.”

Mr. Baxter was quoted by Mr. Gryboski as calling the Blackburn decision “‘an important win for religious liberty. … A university like CCU, whose employees and students share its religious convictions concerning the sanctity of life,’” said the Becket attorney, “‘should not be forced against its beliefs to distribute drugs that it deems to be morally wrong.’”


Deceiving Women

ABORTION ADVOCATES IN THE U.S. SENATE MAY BE PREPARING a “war-on-women” political attack in this fall’s election campaign via a bill filed last November and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The chief sponsor of the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, is joined by most of his Democratic colleagues in sponsoring S-1696. The lengthy proposal is reminiscent of the long-dead “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), which pro-life citizens succeeded in stalling and eventually killing several years ago; its effect would be to invalidate already enacted state and federal laws governing abortion or limiting it in any way and to prevent future such enactments.

Since the prospect of this proposal advancing in the US House is slim to none, it was clearly introduced for partisan pandering to the abortion cartel and as a political weapon against those who would resist such a euphemistically named legislative atrocity.

We list here the names of Sen. Blumenthal’s abortion-apologist co-sponsors, and we reprint at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing the legislation’s summary published by the Library of Congress.

Co-sponsors of S-1696: Mark Begich (AK), Barbara Boxer & Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sen. Blumenthal & Christopher Murphy (CT), Christopher Coons (DE), Mazie Hirono & Brian Schatz (HI), Dick Durbin (IL), Tom Harkin (IA), Benjamin Cardin & Barbara Mikulski (MD), Edward Markey & Elizabeth Warren (MA), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Al Franken & Amy Klobuchar (MN), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester & John Walsh (MT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Cory Booker & Robert Menendez (NJ), Martin Heinrich (NM), Kirsten Gillibrand & Charles Schumer (NY), Sherrod Brown (OH), Jeff Merkley & Ron Wyden (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Bernard Sanders (VT), Maria Cantwell & Patty Murray (WA), and Tammy Baldwin (WI). All are Democrats; though Sen. Sanders claims to be an “Independent,” he caucuses with Senate Democrats.

Readers may wish to contact their home-state US Senators and seek a “no” vote on S-1696, in case it is moved out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. They may be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. Readers in the states of the measure’s co-sponsors may wish to express their opinion to their Senators and also to inform their fellow citizens of the abortion-cartel representation their states are suffering.


Martinez Campaign Stumbles

A GOVERNOR CONSIDERED A RISING STAR in the Republican Party has run afoul of pro-life activists in her state just as she faces re-election to what would be her second term.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez was already under criticism from such noted pro-life leaders as Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who charged that she has “‘taken absolutely no action on [the abortion] front in the past four years,’” writes Protest Albuquerque leader Tara Shaver in an OR news release.

But to make matters worse, a man identified as Mrs. Martinez’s re-election campaign manager and chief strategist, Jay McCleskey, reportedly confronted pro-life activists at a neighborhood rally, using foul language to call the peaceful activists a vulgar name.

Said Mrs. Shaver, “The pro-life community has been asking Gov. Martinez what she is willing to do to stop pre-born child killing in New Mexico. We have been completely ignored until today.”

New Mexico is considered one of the most open states for the abortion cartel and has lately become a center of pro-life activism, particularly in the Albuquerque area, where Protest ABQ has mounted a campaign to outlaw late-term abortion. A notorious late-term mill is located within the city limits, but the city has refused to act.


Presbyterians Silence Pro-Lifers Among Them

A MAINLINE PROTESTANT DENOMINATION WENT BEYOND the radical agenda which has characterized its social-issue stands for the past several decades and voted down last week a motion to condemn “the killing of babies born alive,” reports Kirsten Andersen for, “after botched abortions.

“The proposal, offered by the Presbytery of South Alabama,” reports Ms. Andersen, at the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PC/USA) in Detroit last week, “also suggested the PCUSA take two years to reconsider its support for abortion-on-demand.

“Fully 78% of delegates at the 1.8 million-member PC/USA voted against a ‘two-year season of reflection on the plight of unwanted children,’ which called on church leaders,” notes Ms. Andersen, “to ‘issue statements that denounce the practice of killing babies born live following an abortion procedure, such as was revealed in the Kermit Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia.’”

So even citing Mr. Gosnell did not move the Presbyterian/USA delegates to re-examine their consciences and reconsider their denomination’s participation in the abortion culture that is seeking to dominate the American system. The resolution “was defeated 465 to 133,” reports Ms. Andersen, “after the ‘Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy wrote a memorandum recommending its rejection,’” a memorandum which, notes LifeSiteNews, “‘conceded that ‘the case of Dr. Gosnell is abhorrent to all.’” Though claiming “‘statements in opposition to Dr. Gosnell’s actions would accurately reflect church policy,’” writes Ms. Andersen, “they explained that ‘the Moderator and Stated Clerk do not typically comment on criminal cases.’” The resolution, of course, was asking the church’s governing body – not simply two officials – to take a stand against atrocities.

“The church would also have been called on [in the defeated resolution] to ‘appoint a Special Committee on Abortion Review,’” writes Ms. Andersen, “and ‘[c]onduct a thorough assessment’ of multiple forms of ‘support that the PC/USA provides to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and other abortion providers or pro-choice organizations.’”

The memorandum used to argue against the resolution claimed, reports Ms. Andersen, “‘The position of the church is not pro-abortion. However, the PC/USA recognizes that there are circumstances when abortion may be a responsible choice within a Christian ethical framework.’ The memorandum,” explains Ms. Andersen, “specified abortion as a final option in case of contraception failure.” Final for the baby, in nearly every such case; one could call it “the final solution.”

The rejected resolution sought, reports Ms. Andersen, to cause the denomination to “‘review existing policies and, if needed, propose new policies that will more accurately represent the PC/USA in its breadth of conviction about abortion, taking into account our churches’ desire to worship God in purest form. … Any new policies,’” read the rejected resolution, “‘shall incorporate more fully the voices of pro-life Presbyterians, who have to this point largely been kept silent in denominational advocacy.’” Apparently, keeping pro-life Presbyterians silent is precisely the will of the denomination’s supposedly participatory governing assembly. How tragic.


Official Summary of S-1696

Published by the Library of Congress on its Internet website (See Deceiving Women, above)

(S-1696) Makes the following limitations and requirements concerning abortion services unlawful and prohibits their imposition or application by any government:

  • a requirement that a medical professional perform specific tests or follow specific medical procedures, unless generally required in the case of medically comparable procedures;
  • a limitation on an abortion provider’s ability to delegate tasks, other than one applicable to medically comparable procedures;
  • a limitation on an abortion provider’s ability to prescribe or dispense drugs based on her or his good-faith medical judgment, other than one generally applicable;
  • a limitation on an abortion provider’s ability to provide abortion services via telemedicine, other than one generally applicable;
  • a requirement or limitation concerning the physical plant, equipment, staffing, or hospital transfer arrangements of facilities where abortions are performed, or the credentials, hospital privileges, or status of personnel at such facilities that is not otherwise imposed where medically comparable procedures are performed;
  • a requirement that, prior to obtaining an abortion, a woman make medically unnecessary visits to the provider of abortion services or to any individual or entity that does not provide such services; and
  • a requirement or limitation that prohibits or restricts medical training for abortion procedures, other than one generally applicable to medically comparable procedures.

Makes unlawful a measure or action that restricts the provision of abortion services, or the facilities that provide them, that is similar to any of those described above if it singles out abortion services or make abortion services more difficult to access and does not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services.

Provides standards for the making of a prima facie case in a civil action challenging such restrictions and factors to be considered by a court in determining whether a measure or action impedes access to abortion services.

Makes the following other restrictions on the performance of abortion unlawful and prohibits their imposition or application by any government:

  • a prohibition or ban prior to fetal viability;
  • a prohibition after fetal viability when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating physician, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the woman’s life or health;
  • a restriction that limits a woman’s ability to obtain an immediate abortion when a healthcare professional believes, based on good-faith medical judgment, that delay would pose a risk to the woman’s health; and
  • a prohibition or restriction on obtaining an abortion prior to fetal viability based on a woman’s reasons or perceived reasons or that requires her to state her reasons before obtaining an abortion prior to fetal viability.

Requires courts to liberally construe the provisions of this Act.

Authorizes the Attorney General or an individual or entity aggrieved by (or a health facility or medical professional adversely affected by) a violation of this Act, to commence a civil action for injunctive relief.

Pre-empts any provision enacted by a state or subdivision having the force of law that conflicts with any provision of this Act.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: Exceptions for “a woman’s health” are wide open so long as the Supreme Court’s Doe v. Bolton edict stands. Doe v. Bolton is the companion decision to Roe v. Wade, handed down the same day, Jan. 22, 1973, though less well known. The Doe v. Bolton ruling includes a definition of medical factors which is broad enough for a Mack truck, thus creating an automatic loophole in any law offering a “health” exception.

Here is the relevant paragraph from the still-standing 1973 ruling: “We agree with the District Court … that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health. This allows the attending physician the room he needs to make his best medical judgment. And it is room that operates for the benefit, not the disadvantage, of the pregnant woman.”]